Editing and proofreading are the final tidying steps of producing a piece of writing for a reader.
When you edit, you correct sentence structure, improve vocabulary choice, grammar, and punctuation. Proofreading involves finding unintentional mistakes like typo’s and repeated words. Usually writers check for both kinds of problems at once.
Unlike the other stages of your writing process, this one actually follows rules and guidelines. When editing, it’s useful to have access to a writer’s handbook which has all of the rules for presenting academic writing. Choose one in hardcopy like A Writer’s Reference or an online handbook like this one from the University of Wisconsin writing center.