November 1, 2011

Want to Help a Grad Student with His Research?

As you may know, I’m a grad student currently working on my master’s thesis. I’m examining usage changes made by copy editors and how they shape standard written English. I’ve been able to get my hands on about two dozen edited manuscripts, marked with Word’s Track Changes feature, but the editors are student interns here at my university, and I’d like to get a better sample.

Here’s where you, dear reader, come in. I’d like some volunteers to edit the original versions of these manuscripts and then send them back to me with their changes tracked. Edited for simplicity: For the purposes of this study, I’m mostly interested in grammar and usage, so it should be more of a copy edit than a content or substantive edit.

But to keep my results relevant, I’d like my volunteers to be professional editors. I would also like them to be native English speakers who edit for American audiences. If you fit the criteria and wouldn’t mind editing a 20–30-page article (for science!), please read the following informed consent information and send me an email through the contact form below. Edited to add: The important part is familiarity with editing for an American audience. If you’re from outside the US but have experience editing for a North American audience, feel free to participate.

Addendum: A couple of people have asked about deadlines, so I thought I’d better clarify. I’d like edited manuscripts returned by the end of this month if possible, but that’s not a firm deadline; I plan on defending next April, so it will probably be okay if they keep coming in over the next few months. If I need to close the survey, I will post an update here.

Informed Consent


The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of editing on standard written English. The results will be analyzed in aggregate to determine the affect of editing on standard written English.


After you submit your information through the contact form below, you will be emailed an unedited paper selected at random from my collection of manuscripts. Using Word’s Track Changes feature, please edit for usage and grammar but not for content. The survey will look at spelling and stylistic variation but not at simple spelling errors or punctuation changes. When you are through editing the paper, please return it to me via the email address from which you received the paper.


The results of this study will contribute to our understanding of the selection and codification processes of standard written English.


There are no risks involved with this study.

Voluntary Participation

Participation in this study is completely voluntary. You may withdraw at any time.


There is no financial compensation for participation in this study.


No personal identifying information will be collected for this survey. Email addresses will be used only to distribute and collect manuscripts for the survey and to contact you in the event of technical problems. Email addresses will not be sold, given out, published, or used for any other purposes.

Contact for Questions

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact me through the regular contact form here. If you would like to be notified of the results when the survey is complete, please include a note to that effect when you return your edited manuscript.

Consent to Participate

By filling out the form below, you confirm that you have read the above information about this study and that you understand the purpose of this study.

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