Having Your Work Edited

The responsibility for editing UAB theses and dissertations resides with the student and the individual departments and programs. Signatures of committee members and program directors on the approval forms indicate their assurance that they have examined the document and have found that it is of professional quality from all standpoints, including writing quality, technical correctness, and professional competency, and that the document conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation.

Because members of your committee read your manuscript carefully, sometimes numerous times, you may feel that it will automatically be sufficiently edited. Keep in mind, however, that the focus of your committee is often quite different from that of an editor. Editing involves reading carefully with the very specific aim of correcting inadvertent errors (e.g., grammar, punctuation, inconsistency in style) that may detract from the coherency and professional appearance of your work. Check with your committee members to determine how they would like to handle the editing process. They may prefer that you employ a professional editor. Some departments keep a list of editors who have been approved by the department and who are knowledgeable and experienced in that particular field of study.

You will need to consult with your committee and your editor to discuss the level of editing you expect and to determine the time and costs involved. Professional editing is very time consuming and can be costly; however, the result is a high quality manuscript that meets the accepted standards of academic and professional publications.

Unless you specifically request other arrangements, the editor will assume that he or she will be expected to do the following:

  • Check for errors in mechanics, such as spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Check for adherence to UAB format requirements.
  • Check for agreement of page numbers for headings and subheadings in the text and in the Table of Contents.
  • Check list pages to ensure that page numbers, titles, and captions are consistent.
  • Check that all levels of headings and subheadings are consistent in style throughout the document and are consistent with those listed in the Table of Contents.
  • Make suggestions for correcting any unclear or convoluted sentences that detract in any way from the professional quality of the text (e.g., misplaced or unclear modifiers, missing or unclear pronoun antecendents, distracting shifts in tense).
  • Check for adherence to the requirements of your own style guide (i.e., style manual or journal) and correct any errors, such as inconsistencies in citations and references. You will need to supply the editor with a copy of your guide.
  • Cross-check in-text citations against reference list to ensure that all citations are listed in the references and that all entries in the reference list occu in the text.
  • Check for correct and consistent use of terms, abbreviations, and hyphenation.