How to Find the Right Editor for Your Dissertation


The doctoral journey revolves around the dissertation process. Developing your dissertation will expose you to leading literature in your field to develop and guide the focus of your research. Hiring a professional editor is highly recommended for learners.

Why Hire a Professional Editor?

Throughout your program, you will be researching, writing and revising your dissertation. As the size of your dissertation grows, you may need to revise your work from the beginning several times.

When writing the dissertation, you will be writing to a highly qualified dissertation committee. If you intend on publishing your dissertation after completing your program, you will also need to edit your thesis for greater readability.

What to Look For

Universities tend not to recommend any specific editing services. The process of hiring an editor is highly personal. However, there are some things to look for when trying to find the best fit for your work.

You should look for an editor who has experience in academic writing for several years. Familiarizing yourself with your editor’s work is an important way to decide if their experience suits your work. Most editor profiles will have a portfolio or samples of completed work.

Clarify with the editor what kind of editing they are experienced in. Whether you choose to hire multiple editors throughout your doctoral program, you want to ensure that they are highly capable in the services you need. As always, you should work with your dissertation chair and committee throughout all stages of your doctoral program.

Types of Editing Services

It is crucial that you understand the kind of editing services you need at a given time. At different stages in the writing process, different services will be required.

The list below shows some of the most common editing services. Learners should expect to engage in these editing strategies on their own time throughout the writing process, but the time and energy that you will need to spend on your programs makes it important to hire a professional.

Developmental Editing

Heavy editing typically performed on a complete draft. Editors performing this service will focus on the clarity, coherence and completeness of your work.

Line Editing

This involves a line-by-line review of sections or the entirety of your work to suggest improvements with conciseness and clarity. This helps identify and trim down redundant or unnecessary content.

Copy Editing

Copy editing is similar to line editing, but it is less focused and usually less expensive. Editors performing this service focus on grammar, punctuation, spelling and other mechanical errors.


Professional proofreading is the most cost-effective with completed work. This involves a general search for mechanical errors and formatting.

Unprofessional Editing

Hiring an editor is important, but outsourcing to willing friends, colleagues or family is an effective way to get additional perspectives on your work. When it comes to editing your own work, it is helpful to set finished writing aside for several days or even weeks before editing. This is called cold reading, and it prevents learners from reading their work too favorably.

Are you ready to take the next step into your career? Consider enrolling at Grand Canyon University’s College of Doctoral Studies. Learners in our programs have access to a wide range of academic resources like the Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching (CIRT) to guide and support dissertation research, writing and publication. To learn more about our programs, visit our website or click on the Request More Information button on this page.

Written by Samuel Sprague, a public policy major at Grand Canyon University.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.