Sample Editing Reports

At Edit911, we’re not just editors; we’re scholars, published authors, teachers, mentors and advisors. In addition to editing your work, we’ll give you a comprehensive report on your work. We’re all college professors, so we love to teach and help in any way we can. Thus, we don’t just edit your work; we also explain what we’ve done and share with you whatever observations and advice that occur to us. Check the following two sample editing reports that our editors recently wrote to two of their clients. We’ve changed the proper nouns and some other information in order to protect our clients’ identities.




This is a very interesting effort, on a topic regarding which it is very hard to get information.  I will comment on two levels: technical items first, and then substantive items.

Technical items:

You tend to be very consistent stylistically.  In some cases I don’t believe you conform to Turabian.  I moved periods from before to after end-of-sentence citations, for example.  I believe Turabian and Chicago style would use U.S. rather than US but I saw no reason to make a global change unless your advisor insists on it.

I noticed that you used the electronic citation process, but it seems to have some glitches, such as placing a comma before “et al.”  I did make revisions in the reference list, directly on the list itself.  I hope that doesn’t mess anything up.  Since it was not possible to write marginal comments on the reference list, I have provided at the bottom of this note a list of queries on the reference list.

You tend to lack page numbers for your direct quotations.  I realize that most are Internet-based.  Turabian and Chicago recommend referring to paragraph numbers or headings in order to help readers find a quotation in an Internet-based document.  Check with your advisor as to whether this is necessary.

You tend to start many of your direct quotations in the middle of a sentence of the quoted material.  Some of these instances result in awkward syntax, and many of them were preceded by an unnecessary comma.

Justification is really awkward in the reference list due to the presence of long URLs.  Consider going to left-justified, right-ragged formatting if permissible.

Substantive items:

These issues and many others are addressed in marginal comments.  Remember that, while I am trying to suggest improvements, your advisor is your primary audience, not me.  If your advisor is happy with something, don’t change it because of me.

Your discussion of Smithnet is fascinating but has some glitches.  First, you sometimes treat one writer’s allegation of US authorship as proven and at other times say authorship is unknown.  Second, you say it is open-source but don’t give any hint as to how you know this or how we can verify that it is available to our enemies.  Maybe it is hard to explain this information, but your explanation seems incomplete.  (My son, who has a strong intelligence interest, was wondering how he could get hold of Smithnet).

It is strange for you to speak of dependent and independent variables in your methodology, since there is no aspect of your study that examines relationships between defined variables.

Your literature review is a bit unusual, in that it proceeds one study at a time rather than topically.  But if this is acceptable to your advisor, there is no need to change.

I think your study could benefit from tighter organization.  For example, you present two hypotheses but I don’t find specific sections of the thesis that examine the pros and cons for each hypothesis rigorously, while on the other hand there is substantial material (e.g., on hardening defenses) that are not related to either hypothesis.  I don’t think you are as careful as you could be in organizing and presenting in logical fashion the evidence that leads to your conclusion (e.g., the assumption that cyber attacks will increase).  But again, I realize that it is hard to construct a thesis with so little firm documentation available.

Finally, I have not checked the page numbering in the table of contents or lists or tables and figures, since page numbers may change during your review and revision.  When you have completed your review, let me know and I will complete the table of contents at no charge.

Thanks for the chance to read this important work.  Comments on the reference list follow below.  If I can help in any further way just let me know.

–Dr. Bruce



Dear Paul:

I have edited your dissertation manuscript for most of the standard things:  grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, word choice, organization and paragraphing. Additionally, I have checked it for relevant aspects of consistent, albeit eclectic style: numbers, italics, bold, lists, footnote format, reference list entries, spacing, indentation, anthropomorphism, specialized usage, wordiness, redundancy, clarity, conciseness, use of abbreviations and acronyms, parallel structure and format.

Your dissertation is a beautiful piece of work, both in concept and in execution. Notwithstanding the long editor’s checklist, the number of correctable items was minimal, as your review will reveal.

There are a couple global issues you will want to look at, such as:

  • The capitalization of “state” and “non-state.”  There is some inconsistency here that remains unresolved.  When you have finalized your decision, you may want to perform a couple of global searches for the sake of achieving total consistency. Where I have found other capitalization inconsistencies, I have commented on them.
  • I have a personal objection to the shortcut represented by the use of “/,” as in “sphere of influence/responsibility.”  I have the sense that this syntactic shortcut reduces semantic precision; my sense is intensified in a quality piece of work, such as yours, where clearly the author was capable of clearer articulation, e.g., “sphere of influence and incumbent responsibilities.” I have not re-worded these, mostly because at best I would be guessing at your full intent.  I have marked them, however, and I do think you should develop these.

The bulk of my editing work was devoted to achieving consistency in and between your footnotes and references. As you explained, your footnote style is of unknown origin and is somewhat eclectic. In no special order, here is what I have done:

  • Concerning supra, I have employed this term in all cases of successively footnoted legal cases. Legal text appears to be the one remaining bastion of the term’s use. APA, MLA, and CMOS no longer use it, or op. cit. for that matter, and frown on its use. Thus, I have reserved the term for footnote repetition citing cases because of your request that I do so.
  • I have used ibid. per CMOS for same page repetitions of the same citation.
  • The most significant decision (in terms of footnote efficiency) was to adopt a form similar to a CMOS footnote citation to shorten repetitions of the same text. For example,

Baldwin, M.  (2012).  The Editing of a Dissertation. Editing Rights Quarterly, 14, p. 37-89.

on footnote repetitions on successive pages of the same work would become

Baldwin, M. (2012), p. 86.

What makes it possible to do this is the existence of a full bibliography. The net effect is to streamline an otherwise more complex set of notes. If for any reason, you should require restoration of the originals, this can be done in most cases by rejecting the deletion of the excised material.

  • I adopted the following footnote conventions:

One author or editor (as author):             Name, I. (2010)

Two authors or editors (as author):         Name, I., and Name, J. (2010

Two editors (in compilation):                  In I. Name and J. Name (eds.)

Journal, Vol. 21, p. 87.:                           Journal 21, p. 87.

Journal, Vol. 22, no. 4, p. 102.:               Journal 22 (4), p. 102.

I left your spacing and page format intact. When you finalize the manuscript, you want to look for and correct widowed lines, and, of course, pagination, which may have shifted owing to additions and deletions.

I do not understand why you have broken your reference component into sections. You might want to consider adding a straight alphabetical bibliography if for no other reason than to facilitate searches while the reader is reading.

In sum, you have written what to my view is a thoughtful, interesting, and promising dissertation. You have great promise as a scholar and I expect to see your name in the future.

If you have questions or comments regarding my edits, please let Marc know. Meanwhile, I offer my best wishes as you continue your dissertation process.

Dr. Peter