How To Hire The Best Dissertation Editor For You

Last Updated on April 23, 2019 by Ayla Myrick

You’ve been writing your dissertation for 3 years
You just finished writing your proposal and have been told it’s a mess
You haven’t been able to get even chapter 1 approved

All is not lost.

Looking For The Best Dissertation Editor

Wherever you are in the process of writing your thesis or dissertation, you may find yourself needing the services of a good editor to help you overcome some problems with your writing. Your advisor has suggested you hire an editor to help you “clean up” your writing. Panicked and desperate, you turn to the Internet to search for an editor. You put in the search term “dissertation editor” and find that you have many choices. You diligently send your request to several services so you can do a price comparison, as any smart shopper might do. When you receive responses from the editing services you contacted, you are amazed by the range of prices you have received. Being a struggling student, you are drawn to the lowest price. You respond to that service, send them your paper, and wait for the results.

The optimism you felt when you resubmitted your paper quickly fades when you find that your advisor—angry now that you have ignored the suggestion to get your paper edited—has some discouraging things to say to you. You return to the editor and ask that he or she redo the work. One of two things usually happens at this point: the incompetent service reedits and the second round of editing is no better than the first, or the service agrees to the reedit for an additional fee, an extra cost that will not guarantee you success the second time. You have now wasted two of the most precious resources any graduate student needs: money and time. What’s a graduate student to do?

How To Hire A Dissertation Editor

Don’t look for the cheapest editor. But choosing the most expensive editor is no guarantee that you are getting competent help either. I have had clients ask me why my quoted price for their paper was $800 when they had another quote for $2,500. The truth is there are unscrupulous people on the Web-calling themselves “editor” who know you are desperate to get that thesis or dissertation written and approved so you can get a job. They count on that desperation to fill their coffers; whether you get through final review is really of no concern to them. Someone equally desperate to finish will come looking for an editor again and the process will repeat itself.

The most cost-efficient way to hire dissertation editor who will do a good job and who will stay with you throughout the dissertation process is to ask the right questions and speak by phone with the editors you are considering. An ethical editor will be happy to discuss your project with you and explain how the editing process works. Call them or ask if the editor is willing to call you. If the editor doesn’t have the time to talk to you, keep searching. Prepare yourself for the conversation before the call is made and have a set of written questions ready for editor. The best questions to ask are the following:


1. How did you become an editor?

Be wary of those editors who answer, “I graduated with my doctorate last year so I thought I could market that experience.” Hopefully a buzzer goes off in your head and you ask yourself how writing one dissertation makes anyone a good editor. Editing is a skill; it requires a person to be extremely focused and attentive to details. An individual doesn’t morph into an editor after graduation.

2. What documentation styles do you know?

To ensure that the editor really is an APA editor or a Chicago style editor, ask a few questions. For APA ask, “When using numbers in APA style, do I write out the number up to the number 10 and then just use the numeral?” If the person says yes, hang up and keep looking for a real APA editor.

3. Have you ever edited dissertations or theses from my college/university?

The answer to that should be more than an “of course.” When my clients ask me that, I tell them what I know about their particular university’s requirements. For example, University of Phoenix has a list of no-no words: it is, there is, there are, this, most “ly” words, and so on. Walden University has an exception to APA’s five-level heading style. The chapter head is not bolded, and it is in cap/lowercase style. Then the five levels of APA are followed for subsequent headings in the chapter. Many universities use APA documentation style but deviate from some of APA’s requirements. The editor should be able to tell you what those exceptions are if the editor has edited for students from that university. For example, Capella has quite a few exceptions to APA 6th edition; the most notable is the chapter heading, which Capella requires to be in uppercase. The remaining headings used in the chapter follow the APA five-level style. Capella also deviates from the APA “double space everything” rule, requiring single spacing for indented quotes and reference list, with double spacing between entries in the reference list.

4. What happens if I need further editing? Will I have to pay all over again?

Make sure you get a written agreement from the editor that outlines the services you will receive, the cost of the service, how to make payment, and if there will be further charges if more editing is needed. An ethical editor will be upfront with you about the costs. Rarely, except in cases of quick turnarounds, will the editor ask to be paid the entire fee before starting work. There is usually a deposit required to start the project and then an agreed upon date for when other payments or final payment is due.

5. May I call you or e-mail you if I have concerns or questions?

Don’t hire anyone who refuses voice contact. It is your right to speak with the person you have hired, but don’t expect the editor to chat with you because you are bored and thought you would check in to see how the editing was going. The editor is at work, and distractions take away from the time needed to finish your project. Also, phone time is billable time. This should be listed in your service agreement so there’s no misunderstanding regarding time used outside of actual editing.

Finding the right dissertation editor takes time. Price should be only one consideration. Take the time to find and hire an experienced, ethical editor who may cost you more at the start but who will save you time and money in the long run.

Ayla Myrick