Postgraduate editing guidelines

Thank you for using our editing service. Professional editing will improve your chances of success and provide you with the opportunity to take a break from writing and thinking about your thesis. Our suggestions will give you a fresh perspective on your work and the motivation you need to complete and submit your PhD, thesis, or essay on time, with confidence. 

By engaging in the editing process with the Research Den, you will receive personalised support that goes well beyond the actual edits of your document – when we take on the responsibility of editing your entire PhD we offer you:

  • Regular phone contact or a personal meeting with your editor to discuss the direction of your PhD
  • Free and ongoing email access with your editor
  • The opportunity to receive a hard copy of your edited document as per the 2004 Australian National Standards for Thesis Editing.

What Most Editing Sites Won’t Tell You

When it comes to writing, we each have a number of bad habits – those little quirks that have crept into our writing style without us even realising – which, unfortunately, cause offense to lovers of language convention (that includes your supervisors and examiners!) 

The main offenders we see are:

  • Over-use of punctuation, including brackets (parentheses), commas
  • Under-use of punctuation
  • Inappropriate use of punctuation, for example, semi-colons used where a colon should be (and vice versa)
  • Repeated use of the same word
  • Unnecessarily long sentences
  • Poor sentence structure
  • Excessive capitalisation
  • Unclear thesis statement and, therefore, an unclear argument or structure.

Most people plan to get their thesis edited after they have a final draft, meaning they submit a document of up to 100,000 words. But here’s the thing: your 100,000 words will be full of mistakes that are repeated over and over again – if you tend to misuse capital letters, for example, you’ll have 100,000 words of capitals used incorrectly. 

At the Research Den, we prefer to help you recognise your habits and adjust your writing style before you’ve committed months and years to your project. If you’re just starting the writing of your PhD and have a chapter draft complete, this is the best time to get some feedback on your writing. You’re in the fortunate position of being able to save yourself money, time and the frustration of going through your edited document and accepting the same edits again and again, page after page. 

Of course, the advantage of editing your complete thesis lies in our capacity to check the structure, logic or argument/evaluation/analysis of your work against your question or topic – one of the criteria your examiners will also be looking for (Exam Procedures for Higher Degree Theses, Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, 2003). But, if possible, we still strongly recommend you get one of your early chapters edited so you can learn from your mistakes and improve the mechanics of your writing. Getting feedback early on is advantageous in the long term as it will improve your writing and most likely result in a more inexpensive final edit, if you need one done at all.

The Research Den Editing Process

We will:

  • Proofread your document for spelling and grammatical errors (punctuation, capitalisation, sentence structure, integrity and variety, parallelism, etc.) while commenting on areas that are unclear or need further development.
  • Check the structure, logic or argument/evaluation/analysis against your question or topic. Please note: if we are editing a chapter of your PhD, we can only comment on the chapter you send, not its appropriateness in the context of your entire work. We are not necessarily experts in the field of your thesis so these comments will be provided from an editing perspective. They are suggestions only. You are responsible for the integrity of your work and of course, your final mark.
  • Check for topic and linking sentences between paragraphs, and a clearly stated main theme (thesis statement).
  • Provide a brief, written addendum detailing areas where the paper could be strengthened.
  • Check referencing style and the reference list. Obviously we can’t check your facts, but we can check that you conform to the style mandated by your field.
  • Edits are based on the 2004 Australian National Standards for Thesis Editing developed by the Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies (DDOGS) and the Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd). The Research Den can provide editing suggestions in hard and electronic formats.
  • Don’t forget, free email support and advice is always available for members of the Research Den. It’s free to join.

What we don’t do:

  • We are not in the business of plagiarism and therefore do not rewrite your original work. We offer practical suggestions for improving poor sentences, word choice, etc. but ultimately the work is yours.
  • Obviously, we cannot accept responsibility for your final mark. An editor is just that: an editor.

Turnaround Time

Individual chapters submitted under 3000 words will be edited and emailed to you 24 to 48 hours after receiving payment from you. The completion and return of larger documents will depend on a number of factors including your deadline, our availability and the level of editing required to meet your needs. 


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Once you receive your quote, you will be able to pay online. We require payment before we are able to start work on your paper. If you have a large document (over 50,000 words) edited, we are happy to negotiate a payment plan. Your quote will be valid for a stated period of time. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and PayPal.  If you would like to discuss the payment of your account, please Contact Us.

Document Formats

Documents must be in Microsoft Word and will be returned with edits suggested in the ‘track changes’ feature. You will also receive additional comments, suggestions and observations from your editor in a separate PDF document.