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Editing Service: FAQs

Doesn't the editing service do the work FOR students?

No. Absolutely not. Exactica's editors edit the work you submit to us.

Editing can work wonders, but Exactica's editors work with your research, your research questions, your arguments, your evidence, your conclusions. They cannot transform a fundamentally bad work into an academic masterpiece.

They can improve just about anything, but what they work with is what you submit to them. Universities, by the way, know this. Some universities will contribute to the cost of having students' work edited.

Doesn't the editing give an unfair advantage to those with money?

Yes. Truthfully answered, it does. People who pay to have their final draft edited get it back better than when they submitted it. Errors that the editor finds and corrects – errors that the students themselves missed in their editing – add up to a much improved work.

Those with money will always have the option to have their final draft edited. I don't like the unfairness either, so I try to make our editing as affordable as possible. Exactica's editing rates are as reasonable as they can be made without compromising on quality.

How long will it take to have my work edited?

It depends on how much time the editor needs to spend on it. Another way of putting it is, the longer the dissertation and the more formatting issues, the longer it will take. Exactica's editors work quickly, but not so quickly as to compromise quality.

A better question is: How long before my university submission date should I submit my final draft for editing?

The answer to that one is: About four to six weeks. That will cover both the time needed to do a good job, and the time you need to review and incorporate the suggestions made by the editor before you hand in the dissertation.

NB: If you're handing your dissertation during the October/November rush, booking is essential!

Will the workshop teach me how to edit my own work?

Yes. The workshops cover the rules of effective editing and what to edit for. It is highly recommended that you apply this knowledge to your work.

Editing really is where you have the opportunity to improve your work considerably. Every error caught, every improvement made, contributes directly to your earning the highest possible mark for your thesis or dissertation.

That is why, after you've edited your own work, you may want to consider sending your final draft to a professional editor who understands research documents. Doing so can add considerably to the quality of your work. It is with that in mind that Exactica offers an academic editing service for final drafts.

How do I get the most out of your editing service?

That question pertains to two things: 'quality' and 'what you pay for it'.

To start with the second: The best way to keep the price low is not to submit your appendices for editing, unless you have a good reason for wanting them edited. They can amount to a lot of pages and, given what appendixes usually contain, your own editing should be sufficient.

To move to 'quality': There are a number of things you can do to make sure that the edited work you get back is of the highest possible quality.

The first, again, is to take the Thesis and Dissertation Workshop or at least read and apply the information in Constructing a Good Dissertation. After that, you will know how to research, structure and write a good dissertation. Since editing polishes what is already there, a good polished work is better than a mediocre polished work.

The second is, if at all possible, to make sure that you have submitted the final draft of your dissertation to your supervisor, and that you have incorporated his or her suggestions.

The third thing is to edit your final draft yourself to the limits of what you are capable of. That gives the professional editor a much stronger foundation from which to work.

The final thing you can do is to give yourself ample time to review the corrections, changes and suggestions the professional editor has made. It is your work, and you should have the final say in all particulars.

I'm a little confused about the pricing structure. Can you explain?

Of course. The pricing of editing work is not an exact science. The prices given on the editing page are general indications. They cover what we charge for most dissertations, but sometimes a dissertation falls outside the norm: It may contain extreme language issues, have many unique citations, or be otherwise time-consuming to edit.

I want to keep prices as low as possible, but I insist on high-quality work. That means using professionals, and I have to be fair to them in terms of their remuneration, and therefore the price may be slightly higher than the average.

What is a 'unique reference', and why do you reserve the right to charge more if there are a lot of them in a dissertation?

The first time you reference a source, it's a 'unique reference'. The number of sources you reference in your work equals the number of unique references in your work. The second time (or third or fourth for that matter) that you cite the same source, it is no longer counted as a unique reference. So you could have a dissertation with 150 citations, but only 30 unique references.

Exactica reserves the right to charge extra if there are an unusually large number of unique references because making sure that all references and cross references are accurate, consistent, and listed correctly in both the body of the work and the bibliography is among the most time-consuming of editing tasks. Exactica's editors don't do a half-job, and we will not send a dissertation that has been edited by us into the world with referencing errors. But it's not fair to the editors to expect them to put in a lot more time on one dissertation than another without paying them for the extra work. That's why the extra charge if there are many unique references.

Note that this applies only to actual references; if you have a long bibliography that includes works not referenced in the dissertation, that's okay, as long as you provide us with a list of which are referenced, and which are just in the bibliography. If you're not sure, phone or send an , and we'll sort it out.

I don't think I can afford it. Are there any options?

It is unfair that those with extra money can afford to have their work edited, while others can't.

Universities know that editing can be a great help to students, so occasionally, if presented with good reasons, institutions will contribute towards the cost of having their students' dissertations edited. Employers also know that editing can help a lot, so if they have a skills development program, they will also (sometimes) pay for part or all of the work.

If neither applies in your case, if you can convince somebody who is very fluent in English and understands academic writing to go over your work, that will help. You don't necessarily have to take what they say as gospel, but the chances are they will pick up quite a number of writing errors that you missed. Of course, references, bibliographies, table and chart layout, flow and all the other things that good editors check will still be your responsibility, but it'll definitely help your cause.

Finally, a warning: Think very carefully (and do your homework!) before going to a really cut-rate editor. The rule with editors is: By their fruits ye shall know them. You may get lucky, but check. No matter how cheap they are, all editors still need to make money, so the chances are that they will skimp on the hours they spend editing your dissertation, and do a sloppy job. Rather don't have your dissertation edited than have it badly edited.

Does your editing service check quotes and references?

Yes and no. While not rocket science, references are among the most time-consuming things to get right in a dissertation. It's really nit-picking all the way.

When you submit your dissertation for editing, your editor will check for style errors in quotes, and will make sure that references, cross-references and your bibliography are accurate and correct in formatting and style.

What they will not do (it's a practical impossibility) is go to the library and check that what you cite as being on page 124 of a particular work, is indeed on page 124. Nor will we check that what you have in quotation marks is, to the word and comma, what the cited author wrote. As the writer, honesty in citing and quoting is very much your responsibility.


News Flash

Dr Hofstee's definitive book, Constructing a Good Dissertation is now available in bookstores countrywide as well as on this website.


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