What seems like a lifetime ago, after I finished writing my first novel, I drove to a neighboring city to buy a manuscript box, fussed with the papers, folders, and labels, then took my precious package to the post office, where I was provided with a dilapidated old box that looked like it had been hauled out of a dumpster.
Believe me when I say that I am so grateful for the advances in technology! Gone are the days of callused fingers, ink smears, and snail mail. However, we now have a new litany of concerns and precautions. Whether you are writing a dissertation, a novel, a science article, or a college essay, you’re likely spending a lot of time at the computer. If you are a willing slave to technology, as I am, take some simple steps to ensure that you receive all of the benefits and none of the drawbacks.
Even the most comfortable positions can do more harm than good.
I love to edit dissertations, and at this point in my career, I have edited more of them than I can count! Although each university certainly has its own set of guidelines, and although various fields use different types of research methods and headings, all dissertations display common themes. This observation led me on a quest this weekend. I canvassed a multitude of university websites worldwide: Australia, South Africa, England, Canada, and the United States, among other places. Then I created a running tally of those qualities that universities find most essential to a strong dissertation. Read on to learn what universities really want! Knowing the expectations can help to remove frustrations. Continue Reading
The relationship between a writer and an editor is precious; you are trusting us with your thoughts, ideas, and creative style. You are counting on us to find the missteps, improve the structure, and offer a solid evaluation. As with any relationship, incorrect assumptions–from the writer or the editor–can result in disappointment at best, and catastrophe at worst. In contrast, knowing the expectations can lead to a smooth, advantageous relationship.
The right expectations can lead to a satisfying relationship.
Commas: we either love them or hate them. Unfortunately, comma use is not a ‘take it or leave it’ issue. Although some people would love to litter their sentences incessantly with commas and others would love to never see a comma again, accurate writers do not usually have the luxury of choice. Commas serve specific purposes; to disregard those grammatical purposes for the pleasure of our personal desires only invites confusion.
The comma battle–it doesn’t have to be like this!
To cite or not to cite? That is the question. (Or something like that!) Many people feel that citing too much makes the paper look like a cut-and-paste. Others feel that citing too little takes the research out of research paper. The real question here should not be how much or how little to cite. Instead, ask yourself when you should cite. Are you actually citing everything you should be? If not, toil and trouble might be in your future!
Don’t be a copycat!
Some universities have a requirement that their doctoral candidates must have their dissertation proofread and edited before final approval is granted. Whether you are considering dissertation proofreading because you have to or because you want to make sure your dissertation is compliant with both citation style rules and your university’s requirements, having your dissertation proofread and edited will result in a final product that reflects the huge effort you have already put into it.
Think of it this way: You’ve been looking at this paper for so long that even obvious mistakes might not be so obvious to you anymore. If your Chair and committee members have also been reading your various renditions, they might not be seeing errors in sentence-structure, spelling, and grammar, in addition to citation or university style requirements. A fresh set of eyes—in the form of an editor who is seeing your paper for the first time—will pick up issues that have become invisible to you.