It’s thesis or dissertation time. You’ve been a diligent graduate student, working tirelessly into the night or during the wee hours of the morning, watching the sun rise through the library windows. We can sympathize. We’ve been there. We remember furiously typing up pages and pages of notes, filling the white void on the screen before us with black characters that bear out the One Universal Truth that we must defend: the thesis statement. We know you have read, revised, submitted, revised with your director and committee’s suggestions and corrections, and resubmitted yet again.Read More
Filtering by Category: Academic Editing
Congratulations, soon-to-be graduate! Your years of graduate-level research are drawing to a close and it is time to plan your exit. The only obstacle standing in your way is that Master's thesis. You have made notes on your theories, crafted the thesis statement, assembled your sources and note cards, and you've written the draft mostly in your head. Now what?Read More
Having edited for a number of clients over the past decade and on a variety of topics ranging from Finance to Medicine and Philosophy, we often get asked how we go about editing an academic paper for a thesis, publication in a journal or for pure research purposes.
The answer, in a nutshell, is always the same: there are no short cuts and editing and proofreading is a meticulous and time consuming process. But the most important thing to remember is that it is an iterative process in which the Editor is there to help you, to make your life easier and at all times to offer his, or her, support and knowledge to make your writing shine.Read More
The answer to that is an unequivocal "no way."
It is academically dishonest - unethical if you will - to pay someone to write a research paper for you and those who peddle research writing services for a fee should be scourged and put in stocks for all the world to shame. Writing the research paper is an exercise. Why would you pay someone to do your sit-ups for you? You get no benefit, and while it could be argued that the student benefits from a passing grade, it's an empty victory: you have not absorbed any of the knowledge or put any skills into practice. The grade was paid for, not earned. You're still academically flabby.
And yet young academics persist in this age-old practice. The call of "I need someone to write me a paper on ethics," however, is most likely answered by a quick exchange of cash for a paper that has already made the rounds of several universities and is not freshly written at all. Chances are good that the submission will not pass muster if the teacher uses Turnitin (or some other similar platform designed to detect plagiarism) and the student will be exposed as an academic fraud.
Academic fraud of this type is, essentially, plagiarism, because the work turned in was not the student's own work. The penalties for plagiarism can range from rejection of the assignment to no mark or a failing grade for the work to failing the course, expulsion, or loss of a degree. Students also risk ruining their academic reputations and public shaming.
So when we get requests to write research papers we respectfully decline with a warning that such a practice is academically dishonest and we have high ethical standards to uphold.
So, you may ask, what do I do if I'm not a good writer? Let's face it. Not everyone has the aptitude or talent to put words on paper but at the very least, as long as you are in college, make those words your very own, and do the best job you can. Then ask for help.
So rather than paying someone to write a paper for them, students should seek out good proofreaders and editors. Most every university has a writing resource center (check with the library or English department) and will provide students with writing and research help, but only if the student asks. They can't reach out to contact the student; it is the student's responsibility to make an appointment and show up. Students can also ask for help from the instructor, but it is not necessarily the instructor's job to proofread - a refrain heard from many overworked professors these days.
Unfortunately, the skills of proofreading and editing are often only important to those of us who consider ourselves Defenders of the Language, and are applied cursorily if at all, by students who just want to get the agony over with. Most times, the student would rather leave it up to the professor to point out errors in the draft process which brings up that whole sit-up analogy.
"This is all well and good for undergraduates," you might be thinking, "but I'm in the midst of my thesis/dissertation and none of it makes sense anymore! Halp!" The despair is real. Some of us are not that far removed from graduate school and we know that Master's and PhD candidates often find themselves struggling with getting all that content and committee changes crammed into 100+ pages right up until deadline. We also know that they often rush the final editing and proofreading process, and who can blame them? After several rounds through the committee and multiple rewrites, a graduate student's brain is pretty much the equivalent of oatmeal by the time submission week rolls around.
And this is where a good editing and proofreading service, such as The Write Writing, comes in. (What, you expected no shameless self-promotion?) We happen to be staffed by academics with backgrounds in economics, finance, literature, rhetoric and composition, technical writing, engineering, medicine, and business just to name a few. We will, for a fee, treat your thesis or dissertation with all the professional attention it deserves and according to your wishes with careful attention to double-checking the formatting standards prescribed by your particular field of study. We can also help you compose your all-important Statement of Purpose for applying to graduate- and post-graduate studies.
Did I mention that we are multi-national? Our Chief Editors are British (living in Budapest, Hungary and our official Hungarian translator) and American (based in Saint Petersburg, Florida), so we are well equipped to handle the differently-nuanced academic standards.
Stop by our website, or inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org about rates and how we can help you create the best academic work you can.
Thanks for reading!
We get inquiries about our services all the time, and one of the most frequent misunderstandings comes from the client's definition and of proofreading or editing and ours. Say Client X informs us, via email, that "the spouse" had gone over the manuscript "thoroughly," and that it only needed "a second set of eyes;" but the client's definition of "thoroughly" and ours were two different things.
First, Client X is operating under the assurance that their spouse did a "thorough" job and it's fair to assume that they did, but they do not have the training and experience of an editor who is, in essence, a professional reader. Furthermore, what the author meant by "second set of eyes?" was pretty vague. Did he mean simple proofreading for grammar and typos? Or did he want us to copy edit, or edit for content? People new to publishing may not know the differences, or even be aware that there are different levels of editing. It usually takes us a few emails to clarify what the client wants.
If you have an important document that is going to be published, it helps to understand the difference between proofreading and editing when you contract with an editing service. If you are an expert with the English language, you may indeed need a simple "second set of eyes" to give a document or manuscript a cursory check. Depending on the purpose of your document, you may actually need line editing rather than proofreading.
If you intend to send a manuscript to a publisher, you should, at the very least, have someone do line editing. This goes for any type of manuscript: fiction, non-fiction, etc. The only exception might be a book of poetry where the author's creative license allows them to play with words, spellings, punctuation, etc. Professional presentations can also benefit from proofreading as well as copy and line editing, and this includes PowerPoint presentations. There is nothing quite so embarrassing as a major typo or an incorrect fact in a presentation.
Proofreading, then, is your first step in bringing any document to an audience, and one that most writers do as they go along. Furthermore, if you have time to proofread, you can always proof your own work, but simple proofreadingshould never be considered as your final step. Hiring a professional to take your work further, especially if it is a book-length manuscript, is absolutely essential if you want to put your best foot forward.
Here are some of the differences between proofreading and editing:
Checking for spelling, punctuation, grammar, word usage, and lower level formatting issues.
Proofreading + verifying facts, checking content and organization, fixing wordiness, awkward transitions. Can suggest improvements for clarity and flow.
Proofreading + checking for grammar, punctuation, spelling, consistency, word usage, as well as assistance with rewriting/rewording.
Proofreading + fact checking, checking for inconsistencies in character behavior/speech, style issues, readability, thematic variances. Content editors can suggest improvements in style and voice without obscuring the author's voice.