Whether you are doing a term paper for high school or you are working on your doctoral thesis, you will be creating a list of references (or bibliography) of the resource materials and other published works that you have cited in your paper. Here is an easy tip for avoiding misspelling the names throughout the paper.
Once you have written your paper, and your list of references (bibliography) is done, do the following:
- Run spellcheck on ONLY the References/Bibliography section of your paper. To do this, position the cursor on the first reference. Start the spellchecker.
- The spellchecker will STOP at every name that isn’t in your computer’s built-in dictionary. It may suggest another spelling, so be sure to proceed cautiously to Step 3.
- Check that you have spelled that name correctly, as it appears. That is, refer to your source material and check the spelling as shown in your paper. Correct if/as necessary.
- When you are confident that the spelling is correct, click to “Add” that name to your computer’s dictionary (the spellchecker button will either read “Add” or some other word that indicates that you can add or include that word/name in your computer’s dictionary).
- Continue to the end of your References/Bibliography section, verifying and/or correcting spelling as necessary. Add all names to your computer’s dictionary as you go.
- When the spellcheck of your References section is complete, STOP the spellchecker. That is, once the spellchecker has finished the References section, it will automatically start spellchecking at the beginning of the next section of your text. The first time that it stops after checking the references/bibliography, simply “Close” the spellchecker.
When you run spellcheck on the final version of your paper, the spellchecker will now automatically catch any name misspellings in your paper. For example, let’s say that the author’s name, correctly spelled as in the References/Bibliography section is “Smythe” but you have it spelled “Smyth” in your paper. The spellchecker will stop at “Smyth” and it will suggest that the correct spelling is “Smythe.” You can then make the proper correction to your text.
When the spellchecker stops on a name that it doesn't recognize, first determine whether it is a name that should be in your references/bibliography. If it should be, and it isn't, you can add the appropriate entry. If the name doesn't need to be in your references/bibliography and the spellchecker stops on it, simply verify (from whatever source documents you have) that it is spelled correctly. Once you know that it is spelled correctly, then Add it to your computer's dictionary. Now if it is used again in your text, your spellchecker will check the spelling for you.
Continue to spellcheck your entire document. If you have supplemental documents (such as tables or appendices) that are separate from your research paper, then be sure to run spellcheck on those files as well. You should always run a final spellcheck after you have made the last correction to your paper. Run spellcheck repeatedly if you continue to revise or update your text.
This tip will help you avoid embarrassing name misspellings in your text.