Graduate Editing Service: What Does an Editor Do?

  • An editor’s job is to mark manuscripts in ways that assist the writer in improving the quality of writing in the document. The editor does this by pointing out and correcting errors, especially problems related to clarity, organization, and consistency. 

    When we receive your manuscript, we assume that content and ideas are well established. Therefore, editors mark manuscripts in ways that assist the writer in improving the quality of writing in the document. Sometimes the editor will correct errors, and sometimes they will simply point them out. The editor will look for problems related to clarity, organization, transitions, grammar, punctuation, and consistency. 

    Editors do not correct every error in the manuscript. Instead, they devote about one hour to each chapter, starting at the beginning of each chapter and going as far as they can in the allotted time. Then, they move on to the next chapter. In each case, their goal is to address as many errors as they can, so that writers can finish editing the chapter on their own. Writers who need help understanding how to correct their errors are encouraged to visit the Jones White Writing Center and meet with a graduate tutor.

    Editors will:

    1. Run the manuscript through iThenticate and recommend ways to address problems indicated in the iThenticate report.
    2. Use the Track Changes feature of MS Word to mark corrections in the manuscript.
    3. Edit for errors in grammar, clarity, organization, transitions, punctuation, and consistency. The editor usually marks an error the first few times it occurs and includes a note about correcting any remaining occurrences.
    4. Mark formatting problems, following the author’s style guide (MLA, APA, or some other) and the IUP Thesis and Dissertation Manual.
    5. Correct stylistic errors in in-text citations, following the style guide.

    Important note: The Graduate Editing Service and the School of Graduate Studies and Research both edit theses and dissertations, but they are not the same. The Graduate Editing Service focuses on clarity, organization, grammar, and style, whereas the SGSR focuses on formatting, particularly the front matter and references. Both the GES and SGSR submit the manuscript to iThenticate. The GES will alert you to problems and suggest ways to address them before you submit the manuscript to the Graduate School. The consequences can be serious if you submit a manuscript to the SGSR that contains plagiarized text. Therefore, students should use the feedback from the GES, including the iThenticate report, to make all necessary corrections to their manuscripts before submitting them to the SGSR.

    Questions or concerns? Contact us at or call 724-357-3029.

  • More Writing Help

    The Kathleen Jones White Writing Center provides tutoring services, workshops, and writing resources.