Using Editing Software vs Hiring an Editor

Using Editing Software vs Hiring an Editor

By Dr Lonny Ness

In this blog post, I will discuss the use of editing software versus hiring a professional editor for improved academic writing, grammar, and formatting (i.e. Word, APA, etc.). As a dissertation coach, we also offer high-level editing services. My secret to great editing and feedback – superior software, plus extensive expertise. While most doctoral students lack expertise, they can certainly gain an advantage by utilizing top-notch editing/grammar software, such as Grammarly and Stylewriter.

Leading Grammar and Editing Software Providers:

Grammarly’s key features include:

  • Compose bold, clear, mistake-free writing with Grammarly’s AI-powered writing assistant.
  • Get corrections from Grammarly while you write on Gmail, Twitter, LinkedIn, and all your other favorite sites.
  • From grammar and spelling to style and tone, Grammarly helps you eliminate errors and find the perfect words to express yourself.
  • Grammarly’s plagiarism checker detects plagiarism in your text and checks for other writing issues.

Stylewriter’s key features include:

  • StyleWriter’s editing advice shows you how to transform your writing into a clear, concise and professional writing style.
  • StyleWriter highlights jargon phrases, difficult words and acronyms and abbreviations to help you write in a jargon-free style.
  • StyleWriter’s Smart-Spell technology checks for spelling errors and spelling inconsistencies missed by other programs.
  • StyleWriter uses a revolutionary 200,000 graded word list to offer meaningful statistics and ratings you can use to become a better writer.
  • StyleWriter is the only writing aid you can fully customize to your writing needs. Organizations can computerize their existing house style rules.
  • StyleWriter lets you select from 20 writing tasks and three audience types, including academic, advertising, legal writing, memos and more.

Both Grammarly and Stylewriter are great tools for improved writing and grammar, but work very differently from each other – with different feedback provided, based on varying criteria. Therefore, I recommend that clients and mentees purchase both. With reasonable pricing – especially as compared to the cost of tuition, they are well worth the investment! Dr. Babb’s addition: - do not overly rely on these tools!

As a writing coach and editor (as part of my dissertation coaching services), I use these products (along with expertise), but always advise these for my clients and university mentees for two reasons: (a) they are empowered to produce better quality writing and work, and (b) they save money and time! Isn’t that what you want too? Of course!

Other benefits a professional editor provides are:

  • Microsoft Word formatting (headings, TOC, pagination, etc.)
  • Writing style (e.g., MEAL Plan)
  • Writing/formatting convention compliance (APA, and others)
  • Fine-tuning – While software can identify errors, making corrections is entirely another matter. An editor can assist with corrections such as passive voice, anthropomorphisms, vague terms, wordiness, and others.

In conclusion, my advice for all academic students, as well as writers, in general, is to purchase one or both of the above software packages, and also use an editor to ensure completion before sending your work to your chair.


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