Good editing includes checking logic and flow, as well as grammar, punctuation, spelling, to ensure that the document achieves its purpose.
I believe there can be no such thing as a “light edit”. An editor can either do the job properly or not at all – if I see a mistake, how can I ignore it?
Proofreading is checking that the changes from an early version of a document are included in a later version. Before the digital age, authors and editors corrected the proofs of manuscripts before they were published. Typesetters incorporated their changes into a new version. Proofreaders then checked that the typesetters had made the changes correctly.
Note: There is no consistent difference between a thesis and a dissertation. Some institutions offer a master’s thesis and a doctoral dissertation; others offer a master’s dissertation and a doctoral thesis.
I cannot edit without first formatting the document. It gives me an overview of the content while I optimise the appearance. After I receive payment for the formatting, I start the first edit, i.e., I switch Track Changes on and check the grammar, punctuation, spelling, logic and flow.
During the first edit, I usually have questions that need to be answered, or suggestions that need to be responded to, which I insert as Comments. Where necessary, I insert Comments to explain my changes. I return the document to the author for approval and then it is best to send it back to me for a final check of the text and any alterations or additions.
A second edit is usually necessary because, when you receive the document back after the first edit, it looks quite different and the break has given you fresh enthusiasm and objectivity so you want to make quite a few changes and can tie up several loose ends.
After editing, I would send you my invoice for the editing (based on the original word count). After payment, I would email you the edited document and the PDF version.
If any further updates are necessary, I make them without charging. For example, after the examiner has requested changes, the TOC might need to be updated before the final document can be printed and bound.
Because theses and dissertations are for examinations, I cannot ethically write anything new in them. I can only rearrange the author’s original text.
I will give you a letter to say that I have edited your work.
Use of Past and Present Tense
In the literature review, some academics use the present tense because they look at the articles instead of the authors. An article says the same thing now as when it was first written. However, I prefer to use the past tense because the date of the article shows that was what the authors thought then. They might think differently now: Other authors might have proved them wrong or the situation might have changed since then. Some of the purpose of a literature review is to show the history of the thinking about the topic, and using the past tense makes this clearer.
In the description of the method, I use the past tense because you are describing what you did.
In the Conclusion, I use the present tense because you are talking of what you think now, after all the research is over.
Some documents need an index at the back with alphabetical entries that tell the reader all the pages where each entry is mentioned.
The index can be at various levels of detail. It entails going through the whole document marking the text that should be indexed, so my rate is based on the number of words in the document.
Policies and Procedures
Policies need to be drafted and approved so that their procedures can be standardised. Procedures (known as methodologies in the US) need to be written down so that they can always be done the same way with the same results, to comply with policies.
I can help with the drafting or just with the formatting. The rate for formatting would be the same as for any other document without references. My rate for drafting the document would depend on the complexity of the policy and/or procedures concerned.
Annual reports need stringent checking for consistency and accuracy. Nobody notices if everything in the annual report is correct – but a company loses face if there are errors in its annual report. (Note that I check the appearance of the financial statements, not the contents.)
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