Having your thesis/ PhD edited

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    I was wondering what people’s experiences have been of using an editor to go through their thesis prior to submission. Has anyone got any useful tips on this or even some contacts for editors that were good? How familiar with the subject matter do you think an editor should be?

    Katie Metzler

    Hi Sarah,

    It’s a good question, and one I’ve been asking myself too! I’m working on my thesis at the moment and because I also work as an Editor at SAGE, I believe in the benefits of the editing process! I have thought about who I would ask to edit my thesis, and I feel like I need different people for different sections. For the first two chapters, I really need a specialist historian, but for the rest, I would like someone who had no knowledge of the field as I want to ensure my arguement is explicit. Perhaps the second half is a task for a critical friend?
    In terms of finding an editor, I personally fear going through a company on the web and I think I’d only trust someone recommended to me through someone I trust, like my supervisor or a colleague at SAGE. I wonder if anyone SAGE uses as external editors do this kind of work…. I’ll ask!


    Karen Ray

    I have used a combination of two editors for Chapters 1, 2, & 3. The first was the brother of a friend and he was helpful and inexpensive. He paid attention to logic and my arguments. He did not have any background in my subject and was able to tell me when my logic and rationales were weak–because he could not follow them. He also familiarized himself with APA style so that he could comment on structure. His feedback was helpful. Then, I hired a woman who advertised that she could provide APA style editing. She was expensive—WAY expensive. That would have been fine if she (a) had known APA style, (b) was not an aficionado of passive voice, (c) did not try to change the meaning of my content, and (d) was polite. It was a complete waste of my money and I would like to report her to someone as being incompetent—but there is no one to report to.


    Ok, those I both really helpful replies. Thanks! I suppose that once you’ve spent that long on a project you want to check it as thoroughly as possibly but you also don’t want someone taking it apart on things like you seem to have experienced Karen. That must have been both upsetting and frustrating. In a sense you don’t want someone to ‘mark’ it as such… tricky! Thanks again for your comments!

    If anyone has any other experiences with this issue or any hints do just post them! Also – if anyone out there would put themselves forward for editing then that might be a useful contact for the group to have! I suppose you could just start a new discussion advertising your editing services and then anyone can get in touch if they are interested.


    Katie Metzler

    I’ve got a recommendation – Rebecca Vaughan- Williams used to work at Continuum and now works at Pearson and does thesis editing part time. She’s been recommended to me by editors at SAGE. I don’t know how expensive she is, but she said be happy for people to contact her if they’re interested in her services…


    Hope this helps!



    My alma mater’s Thesis Office and Writing Center maintain lists and profiles of local proofreaders/editors. The profiles contain information on their professional and educational experience, and also publication styles used and numbers of dissertations/theses edited. This might be a good starting place for locating experienced, efficient editors.

    If you are working on a budget, consider using different editors for content versus formatting and style. You could “trade” time on your dissertation with a trusted colleague; the colleague could check out your theory, design, and methods. This worked well for me. We even edited each other’s dissertation defense Powerpoints.

    You then use the professional editor for formatting, style, and anything you and your colleague missed. This will condense the time that they spend on your documents and cap your payout.

    Carol Cleeton

    Hi Sarah. I know a great editor. His name is David Isaac and he is a qualified editor with the Australian College of Journalism. He told me that the subject matter is not so important as correcting the text. He isn’t totally ignorant of medical jargonese and thesis writing. He is based in NSW but can deal on line. E-mail at disaac@hunterlink.net.au
    Good Luck


    the idea of having an editor to edit your thesis is just to make the work more perfect especially in the area of grammartical error however, most supervisor are finding it difficult to properly go through the thesis of their student as stipulated by relevant authority,and as a cover up ,they resort to editor that charge the student extral money.this idea is been abused.

    thank you.

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