The Doctoral Student, the Advisor, the Advisory Committee, & the Academic Editor – Part 3


Anyone who has written anything for public consumption knows that one edit is not enough. Editing is like an onion or a ladder. One edits till it reads well. The more one strives for excellence, the more one needs to peel another layer/edit to get it ever refined. Or another image. One edits and get to an acceptable level. If one wants to improve the quality one needs to climb the ladder and have repeated edits.

Students have one professional edit, make changes, and think the work should still be perfect. It’s not and even one change or non-acceptance of even a small part of an edit can mess up a perfectly good edit. So if you are looking for anything close to perfection, pay for repeated professional edits. As I always try to remind students: writing is a dynamic process and not a static process. Layer by layer; step by step.

Kinds of editing: content editing and copy editing:

First, get your content in place. This is actually what your advisor and advisory committee are for. Then refine and ensure all the language, punctuation, academics style, school style preferences, and formatting are correct and consistent. The two are really not mutually exclusive, but if you are needing to separate the focus, start with content and then move to honing the writing detail.

Ironically, if there are problems with your content, the reverse is true. Some advisors actually want you to get the written part sorted out before they finalize the content with you. The reason is actually very simple. Clear writing reveals problems with content. Fuzzy writing, hides content problems. So if you have the time and financial resources, have an academic editor edit before and after the input of your team.

Give of your best

Whatever you do, give your best effort to an editor. If you send careless work, the editor will always be dealing with the first layer of the onion or the first rung of the ladder. The idea of using an editor is to raise the bar and improve the level of your work.

So self-edit, numerous times in fact. Need help to learn how to self-edit? Download your own handy copy of the Language Online 21 Proofreading Tips. Be sure to keep a printed copy next to your computer. You should also find people in your circle of people with some language skill and get them to edit. Make sure people edit with tracking on. You must know what changes are being suggested.

And then send to an academic editor. Be prepared to pay a reasonable fee and wait a reasonable amount of time for the edit. You want excellence; give the person the space to provide you with excellence. Provide your best first and then use a good editor: the perfect formula for success.

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