Substantive editing is much more than proofreading or copy editing of the thesis. It involves analyzing the document for its objectivity and checking that the standards are met at every level of the document. The flow of content should be appropriate at the paragraph level, at section level and even at the sentence level. The editors check that all rules and guidelines are really followed.


It takes a holistic view of the document. It checks whether the author has kept the audience in mind while writing the document, whether the content is in line with the topic and every point is covered. To elaborate, substantive editing covers:

  • It checks to see if the idea of research is coherently dealt with in the document
  • Looks for logical flow of information in the documentation
  • Irrelevant content are removed to keep the word count in check and make the content pertinent
  • The right technical terms are used in the document
  • Ensures that the content of the document satisfies the audience it is meant for
  • The tables, figures and other data in the document are in line with the actual content
  • Facts and other data provided in the document are cross verified and checked for validity

Hence substantive writing may sometimes call for rewriting a complete document. It is handled by our proficient editors who are subject matter experts. It is one of the highest levels of service offered as part of editing. Hence this service is provided by senior editors or developmental editors. There would be several levels of interactions between the editor and author to make substantive editing fruitful; hence it could be time consuming.

This is the first step in polishing the document and getting it to a reasonable shape. Send in the documents to us and our editors will get in touch with you at the earliest.