Thesis Editing FAQs

How much do you charge to edit a thesis?
The only way I can accurately answer this is by looking at a few chapters of your thesis so I can see how much work it requires. A Master’s thesis might take me a few days; a PhD thesis might take me one to two weeks. If you email me a few chapters of your manuscript, I will edit several pages  and send them back to you with an estimate of how long it would take to complete the job and how much it would cost. This will also allow you to ensure that you are happy with the level of editing. The sample edit is free; however, prepayment is required before work can commence on the full manuscript.

But what’s your typical charge?
Because I am asked this so frequently, I made a spreadsheet of all the theses I’ve done in the last year, excluding those from students with poor English expression and those from students who had very limited IT/word processing skills, and came up with a mean of $AUD1800 for a thesis of 100,000 words. The range was from $1320 to $2290. Please note that I don’t claim to be the cheapest, but I do pride myself on the quality and professionalism of my work.

What subjects can you edit?
A wide range! For example, here is a list of what I worked on in the first six months of 2015 :

  • an academic book about sustainability in the primary science curriculum (formatted according to the requirements of Sense Publishers);
  • a PhD about learning Japanese kanji;
  • an MA about learning Welsh;
  • an engineering research dissertation about repairing concrete structures;
  • a journal article about family business;
  • a music PhD about an avant garde composer;
  • a peace studies PhD about the Solomon Islands’ Truth & Reconciliation Commission;
  • a medical PhD about assessing cardiovascular risk;
  • a PhD about women’s sexual difficulties while taking SSRI medications; and
  • a PhD about recruiting and retaining doctors in regional centres.

Why do you ask for payment in advance?
I do ask students to pay in advance via a direct deposit into my bank account. I understand that this may worry some people, so I do a sample edit for free, and am happy to provide contact details of former clients who would be willing to vouch that I am diligent, hardworking, competent and trustworthy. I have a professional reputation to maintain, so it is in my interest to make sure clients are satisfied with my work. Consider the matter from the freelance editor’s point of view – what recourse does s/he have if the recipient of a professionally edited thesis does not get around to paying?

Do I just send you my Word document? What about my EndNote database?
It’s fine to email just the sample chapters as a Word document with formatted EndNote citations. But there is too high a risk of your thesis becoming corrupted if it is edited with ‘live’ EndNote codes embedded in it. Before sending it to me, you should select the EndNote option to Convert Citations & Bibliography and Convert to Plain Text. Save the resulting document with a new file name. From this point, any modifications to citations/references on that version of the thesis will have to be done manually. If this is likely to be a problem (e.g. if you don’t have a close-to-final version of the text, or if you are using Vancouver style with consecutive numbering), choose Convert to Unformatted Citations instead. The copy I work on won’t have a reference list but you can easily regenerate it by choosing Update Citations and Bibliography.

If you haven’t used EndNote consistently and need me to check that all your citations appear in your reference list, it would be helpful for you to send me your EndNote database. It will probably be too large to email – DropBox or a USB stick are better alternatives.

Will my thesis be ready for submission when I receive it?
No. You will need to step through each of my suggested ‘changes’ and consider whether to accept or reject it. You may also need to rewrite sentences or paragraphs based on the comments that I have made. You should allow time to do this when scheduling your submission date.

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