Finding and working with a professional editor

This page should help you understand how editors work and how to find an editor. It provides some useful information on the process and provides a list of professional editors who have been recommended. Some of the notes were compiled at a workshop on editing, facilitated by Lulu Turner.

Why employ a professional editor?

  • Skills and experience: rules and technics of grammar, syntax, style and usage (conventions) in the English language, reference systems etc. – can pick out errors and inconsistencies in language and presentation.
  • Time-saving: means more time for supervisor or student to attend to other important academic matters.
  • Cost-Benefit: the benefit of an error-free, well- constructed thesis outweighs the cost of hiring professional editor.
  • Reduces workload and stress, of both student and supervisor.

What is editing?

Editing is categorized according to levels of editing:

Substantive or structural editing

[Source: Australian Standards of Editing Practice – ASEP-, Standard C, pp. 7-8, including parts of Standards D and E, pp. 8-13].

  • Assess quality, value, organisation and structure of thesis; advice on style and format.
  • Work with student through drafting process.
  • Ensure language and voice appropriate for purpose.
  • Guide student on elements to be included in thesis.
  • Guide student on grammar and spelling, citations, hierarchy of sections and subsections, illustrations, tables glossary etc.

Copy editing

[Source: ASEP, Standard D, pp.8-13]

Involves checking of spelling, grammar and syntax, and editing to improve and correct writing to ensure it is:

  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Correct
  • Comprehensible
  • Consistent

Does not include rewriting content or passages.

Verification editing (includes proofreading)

[ASEP, Standard E, pp.11-13]

Usually this is done on revised final draft (after input of corrections) to:

  • Check for typographical errors
  • Check structure, formatting and order of chapters are according to set guidelines/style sheet
  • Crosscheck citation and list of references
  • Ensure all elements of thesis are complete, in correct order and place (preliminary pages, illustrations, tables etc.).

Choosing an editor

Before employing a professional editor, check the Institute of Professional Editors guidelines – adopted by UC (and other Australian Universities) Policy and/or have a look at A Guide to Thesis Editing in Australia.

Editors can be located on registers of freelance editors, maintained by state and territory societies of editors. In the ACT, the Canberra Society of Editors is a useful place to find an editor. Other State’s societies of editors are listed under

List of recommended editors

Below is a list if editors who were recommended. To help us maintain this list up to date, please email us if you find someone you found very useful (or someone who should not be recommended).

  • Aylen, Jane, Access Editing, 0412 286 677,,, IPEd Accredited Editor recommended by Katja.Mikhailovich (Education)
  • Baker, Tim editing. Experience in education, Law, Creative Arts, Engineering, Social Sciences, Health Science, Information Technology and Business Studies. Contact
  • Beckett, Stephen (02 6241 1472 or 0431 949 345 Science, entomology)Contact:
  • Bellis, Alexandra — editor, writer, proofreader. Contact: or 0407 256 103.
  • Brandenburg, Nicholas. Contact:
  • Carey, Lyndall. Contact:
  • Chandler, Sonja.
  • Edmunds Editing – recommended by a PhD student in FAD and Health
  • Faulks, Pam (strengths in tourism, management, business, marketing and communication, and education). or 0437 570 659
  • Hampson, Meryl (Hansard editor – experience in government papers) Contact:
  • Hunter, E & J (media, law) Contact :
  • Louise, Stephanie Contact:
  • McCarthy, David Contact:
  • Milligan, Ann (Science). contact:
  • Muntz, Rachel. Contact:
  • Reaburn, Claire.Member of Canberra Society of Editors. Experience in editing and proofreading PhD theses, specifically in the areas of History, Art History. Architecture and Literature. Contact : or +61414 967170
  • Revington, John. Contact: or
  • Sarre, Alistair. contact:
  • Searcy, Harriet (recommended by ASC). Contact:
  • Sidebotham, Matthew at
  • Watson, Christine Specialises in indigenous studies, art, environmental studies, history, anthropology and museum studies. Contact: Common Ground Exhibitions & Research, Tel: 02 6230 7124; Mobile: 0450 104 386 Email:
  • Watts, Andrew. contact:
  • Whitfield, Denis (recommended by BGL). Contact:, Mob: 0421043563

The Faculty of Business and Government employs a part time editor.


University of Canberra Guide to Referencing

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