If you’ve ever wondered about academic editing, you’ve probably heard some falsehoods about it. You might have heard that it’s plagiarism, or that it’s only for people whose first language isn’t English, or that you can just have your friend who majored in English proofread your paper and it’s the same thing.
There are a lot of misconceptions about academic editing and proofreading, and hopefully this blog can help clear some of those up for you (and others!). Before we start, though, if you’re interested in getting academic editing, it’s always best to check with your program or school (or both!) about whether outside editing is allowed. Some schools don’t allow any outside editing; it has to come from the school’s writing center. Better to know ahead of time.
Here are some of the major misconceptions we’ve run into with clients.
Isn’t academic editing plagiarism? Will the editor write my paper?
No and no! It’s not plagiarism because editing is not writing. Our editors will not write anything for you, not even sentences or paragraphs. That would be a violation of every Honor Code, not to mention that, at its core, that goes against every tenet of academia. We take academia seriously. This is your work, not ours. We will point out where you might want to clarify things or areas that don’t flow well, but we will not write new content for you.
We have had students email us and flat-out ask us to write their paper for them. We will not do this and we urge you not to use services that will do this for you. If you did, you would be cheating yourself out of the experience and not earning your degree honestly.
Do I really need an editor? My best friend is an English teacher. Can’t she look it over? Do I need an editor for my book if I’m self-publishing?
Check out our previous post here on how a professional editor can help. While your friend may be a wonderful English teacher, our professional editors have been through the thesis or dissertation experience themselves and have helped hundreds of students through the process. They have been rigorously vetted by DE, in regards to their editing and formatting skills, and have attended several editing and formatting workshops and seminars. They are objective and focused on your work, and can provide a fresh, outside perspective that you may not get from someone you know personally.
If you’re writing a book, you most certainly need an editor. If you’re self-publishing that does not negate the need for an editor – in fact, that’s even more of a reason to have one! Without a publishing company’s in-house editors, who will edit your work? That’s where Dissertation Editor comes in.
Aren’t editors mainly for students for whom English isn’t their first language?
Not at all! Though ESL (English as a second language) students may find it extremely helpful to have professional academic editing, editing is for anyone and everyone. English is a complex language, with many grammar rules and tricks. Writing well is a skill, and one that doesn’t come easily to everyone. Even individuals who write well hire editors – just look at professional writers and their editors! Having an objective editor who can provide a fresh perspective on a piece is important, no matter how good of a writer you are.
So editing is a one-time thing and I’m done, right?
Unfortunately not. Especially when you’re working on a dissertation, editing can be best thought of as a multi-step process that evolves as your paper grows and develops. Often times, even with a full draft, editing takes several rounds before writers “get it right.” This is normal and to be expected. Even once all the editing is finished, then comes the proofreading and formatting.
If I hire a professional editor, does this guarantee that I'll pass?
Again, unfortunately not. Your dissertation is comprised of your thoughts and ideas. As editors, we can help improve your writing, help you address the comments your committee has made, and ensure that everything is formatted correctly, but we cannot guarantee that your project will be passed by your committee. That would depend on your committee, your work, and your project.
Here at Dissertation Editor, we offer a range of services, both academically and professionally, to help you reach your goals. If we haven’t addressed your question here in this post, please feel free to contact us. We’d love to talk with you about what we do and how we can be of assistance – and what that means in the bigger picture.< Staying Positive in the Face of Uncertainty Preparing for the Job Market >