Understanding the questions about time and money

Okay, so now you know the questions. What are the answers?

Fees and time are important. You need to be able to afford the money and time. But the concept of what is affordable differs from student to student. Again it is about attitude. Here’s what I’ve observed.

  1. Students who want a single quick and cheap edit usually think the editor is responsible for making the document work.
  2. Students who understand that writing a dissertation is a process, know they themselves are responsible for the outcome and that a copy editor can only ever accompany them on the writing journey.

From experience, I’ve found that students who want to fling their document at an editor for one almighty fix are usually disappointed. Students who journey with an editor are usually very satisfied. Why?

First, understand what an edit can achieve. There are 3 aspects to any edit: correct grammar, suitable academic and school style, and applying the formatting requirement (e.g. APA, MLA, etc.). If you specifically need help with any of those 3 areas, chances are you may need more than one edit. If your work is solid in all three areas, a single edit of each section could be enough. Second, if anyone makes even one change after an edit, new errors or inconsistencies could creep in. Third, editing is about refining. If there were many areas to correct in an edit, then only repeated edits will make it shine. Can you see the journey approach of editing rather than the product approach?

Here is what often happens. One to two edits of the proposal chapters or the full proposal. You and your editor can judge if repeated edits are required and when the edits will be most useful. Then a similar process for the final chapters. If possible, I always recommend one final edit of the full document just before final submission.  After all, this is the version that you will be judged by out there in the academic world.

This is a very different process to handing over the responsibility for the one-fix approach. One single edit does not always work although editors try their level best to achieve that. Expecting the editor to turn your document into a finished product is asking for disappointment. If your work needs repeated edits, expect resubmissions and delays and frustration. Recognize your role in this process.

So what am I saying? Pay a bit more when necessary. Repeat edits on all or parts of the document when needed. Allow your editor sufficient time to fashion a good edit. Expecting quick turnarounds is a product mentality and shows disrespect for your editor.