I thought it might be interesting – or useful – to dig down a bit more into how I approach an editing task. There are variations, to be sure, but the basics go like this:
A. I receive the paper to be edited in a Word document. I immediately save it as sent to me so that I have the original to refer to if needed.
B. I save the document with a different name so that I know it’s my working document. This is the one I’ll use and the one that I’ll return to you.
C. I check through to make sure there’s nothing I need to change before I start with track changes – those would be items that are obviously needing to be changed. Perhaps we’ve talked about it. For example, I received a document with 10 point font. The author assured me she wanted it in 12 point font (which is the standard), so I made that change right away.
D. With track changes enabled, I start reading through your document. On my first read, I make the obvious changes I see, try to respond to any comments or particular questions you have, etc. Depending on your document, I may read it and edit it two or three more times before I’m ready for the next step.
E. Once I feel like I’ve made all the changes needed, I make sure the document is saved, then I accept all the changes, and delete all the comments, so that I see a “clean copy” of the paper. I save that under a different name, and do a final read-through of that copy. Using track changes again, I make any needed changes that remain. Believe me, there are always things that remain! I then compare that copy to the other edited copy and add in the changes there. That will give you one copy of your paper, with all the changes tracked, that I return to you.
* I will (if applicable) do a check on your references to make sure that what you have referred to in text appears in the reference list and vice versa. I will note in text the references that are not in the list, and note in the list the references that don’t appear in text. If this is a long list, I might prepare a different document with that information for you.
* I will follow the APA Style Manual, but if your paper needs to follow particular formatting for your situation – such as for a thesis or dissertation – if you send me those guidelines (or a link to them) I will make sure those are followed. For example, you might need different (or no) headers, different page numbers/placement, different spacing for quotes or references, etc.
* When you receive the edited paper back from me, I recommend that you check every change I made before simply accepting all. I do not intend to change the meaning of what you have written or take away your “voice” – remember this is your paper! I am also likely not an expert in your field, so please know that I can’t make or suggest those types of edits.
* One thing I can’t help with is how the final copy will look. You will need to check for (and adjust for) widow/orphan issues, as well as placements of tables and figures that you may have inserted in the text.
So that’s it! Believe it or not, I really enjoy this kind of work – and I learn a lot about a variety of topics from reading your work. I have been in your shoes – whatever stage of your career you are in – so I can appreciate that you are writing for different purposes, and for different audiences. I will do my best to assist you, so that you can get your hard work out into the wider world!