Pacific Literary Arts : Academic
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Academic Editing
I have edited many theses and dissertations, as well as countless papers. At all stages, from initial proposals to the final submission. Can help with the organization, polish the syntax and make it sound more 'academic', and do the final copyediting and formatting.

Very familiar with both APA and Chicago styles. You can download samples in both formats below. Have also done many papers for publication in more unusual styles. See below for links to style pages.

Final formatting for submission includes everything: the title pages, Table of Contents, Lists of Tables and Figures, page numbers, headings and subheadings. The whole shebang. There are many details to address, and everything has to be perfect.

Your dissertation will be your calling card to your profession for the rest of your life. Probably the first thing any prospective employer will look at. So it is worth investing some time and money in making sure it is as perfect as possible. Every detail.

Sample PDFs for Downloading

Correlation of Citations and References
One of the biggest challenges in finalizing a dissertation is correlating the citations and references. This means making sure that every cite is included in the refs, and that every ref is cited somewhere. In addition to double-checking all of the bibliographical and style details (APA or Chicago).

I've found this to be very time-consuming, taking almost as long as copyediting of the text itself. Even more so if your university requires doi's and url's for each ref, as some of them do these days.

If you wish to keep expenses down, you should first do this yourself. I will check it again, but double-checking every citation and references really is the final stage for a theses or dissertation, and is something each scholar should do at the end.

How To Do This Yourself

Copy the references from your doc, just the references and paste into a new doc. Then use that or print it out and work from that. Then go through the text from the beginning, checking each cite. I usually search for a parentheses: '('. Then go through the refs and see if it is there. If it is then check that (or make it bold). If not, then insert it where it should go alphabetically. You'll have to get the complete bibliographic info for those.

After you go through the whole thing, you'll find that there thee types: some cites that are ok: some that weren't in the refs and need complete info; and some refs that weren't cited. Those have to be either cited somewhere or deleted.

Some Academic Editing Tips
Past Tense

The most important tip is to write in the past tense. At least by default, whenever referring to work done by others. It should be: Smith found, Jones concluded, etc.

Don't Capitalize Theories, Models, and Laws

Although people generally assume that they are, the names of theories, models, laws, frameworks and such are not generally capitalized in APA and Chicago (and most other styles). Not unless they include a term derived from a proper name, such as Freudian analysis. Also generic terms such as east or northwest, which are only capitalized if they are nouns, not adjectives. Ie, the East, but east of the river.


The rules of hyphenation are confusing, but the basic rule is that it's hyphenated if used as an adjective, but not if used as a verb. So, it's 'a follow-up study,' but 'they will follow up this study.' The 'self' terms are almost always hyphenated, ie, self-realization, etc.

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Writing 'Academic' English
Writing American academic English is very difficult, even for native English speakers. And even ore so for the technical and precise writing that scholarship requires. Non-native English speakers shouldn't be bothered by finding it extremely challenging, or embarrassed to get help. It's really hard.

The most important tip is to write in the past tense. At least by default, whenever referring to work done by others. It should be: Smith found, Jones concluded, etc.

Avoid the first person. Academia requires the impersonal third-person, to give the appearance of objectivity.

A Dissertation is a Form
Dissertations are not really works of literature. Many people think they are. Many students think that they are an opportunity to show how much they've learned during their years of study, and think that the goal is to sum it all up. But they are really more like forms than books.

Especially the usual first three chapters of the proposal: the introduction, lit review, and the methodology. Think of these as a very long form asking specific answers to specific questions:

Chapter 1, Introdction: What is the purpose of the study? What are the research questions? What is the significance of the study? and so on.

Chapter 2, Literature Review: What research has been done related to your study topic(s)? What research has NOT yet been done? What gaps in the literature will your study fill?

Chapter 3, Methodology: What type of study is it (quantitative, qualitative, mixed)? What will you do? Number of participants? How are participants selected? What data will be collected? How will data be analyzed? What will you do to ensure the validity of the data?

They really just want a paragraph or three on each of these. Be simple and straightforward, that's all they are looking for.

Style Guides and Dictionaries

Paul Brian's Common Errors in English Usage has those confusing word pairs and common idioms. Extremely useful.

The venerable Refdesk has a grammar and style page and an even bigger one here. An amazing page of dictionaries and language resources, with many specialized glossaries, including the all-important slang.

I use Merriam Webster's Dictionary and Thesaurus as my standard.

Students should look at Jack Lynch's Guide to Grammar and Style, very good, clear explanations of the basics by a longtime teacher. Writers of all types could find useful tips in his Getting an A on an English Paper.

The Students's Guide to Grammar and Punctuation has many useful links.

Styles Guides

William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White's classic The Elements of Style, the place to start. Here's the original 1918 work by Strunk. And a handy condensed version by an English professor.

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Perdue has extensive resources on the most common styles: APA, Chicago, and MLA.

Official Chicago Manual of Style site. By subscription, but some free resources too. The basics, especially notes and references, are at OWL.

Oxford English Dictionary. Subscription required but if you have a library card you should be able to get access through your local library.

Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Paper, Theses, and Dissertations is the classic explanation of how to do research and write it up. If you are stuck on a thesis or dissertation, get this: it'll tell you what to do and how to do it.

The University of Wisconsin's Writing Handbook site has many resources, documentations for many styles, including the science and engineering ones, which are different:

     American Psychological Association (APA)
     Modern Language Association (MLA)
     American Political Science Association (APSA)
     Council of Science Editors
     Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
     Numbered References
     Quoting and Paraphrasing Sources

Wikipedia pages on English verbs and the uses of English verb forms, with links to other grammar pages. These are the hardest part of writing, at least from an editing standpoint. Keeping them straight and making them consistent throughout a full-length work.

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Client Reviews
I have worked with Michael during my PhD. dissertation between late 2009 and 2010. He edited my writing, proofread and even made some useful suggestions regarding to the paragraph relations. He was very responsive, friendly, and most importantly very much on schedule with his work during the whole process. So, I was really happy with his work and highly recommend him to my friends and to anybody who looks for an editor.

Sema D., Phd, Turkey, September 18, 2013

Mike is an all-star editor and extremely flexible. I approached Mike with just a couple months to go before an important dissertation deadline. He readily helped me, despite the fact I should have provided him with my materials many weeks prior. In addition, Mike's detailed feedback and extremely strong editorial skills made my process so much smoother than it could have been. I have happily referred colleagues and friends to Mike for his assistance with various writing projects.

Corinna C., February 4, 2016

I recently had the opportunity to work with Michael Presky during the final stages of completing my dissertation. He was simply a consummate professional to work with. I completed a mixed-methods research design that resulted in a 200+ page dissertation with a copious amount of interrelated tables and charts. Michael's attention to detail was impeccable. He consistently met the program deadlines for the project and provided timely communication. I would highly recommend him for any large scale editing project of such caliber.

Heather W., January 29, 2016

I needed professional editing while working on my Doctoral Manuscript. Our group was given a list of previously used editors, who turned out to be either highly over-rated, or too big for their britches.

So I did a Google search and held my breath! That was until I found Michael on a similar site. His rates were phenomenal, and so were his reviews.

I took a gamble, reached out to him, and will NEVER use another editor again. He really helped me with paper organization, unique APA editing, and gave me great suggestions on how to strengthen particular points.

Out of a group of 10, I was the only one who needed minor final modifications. Mike is easy to work with, gets back to you quickly, keeps you on course. Excellent choice!!

Cynthia H., January 28, 2016

I've worked with Michael for over 3-4 years now, and all I can say is that he is the BEST!! He edited several of my nursing research papers and various written projects. I like the fact that he was always flexible, prompt, proficient, and HONEST. Awesome work, Michael! Thank you so much!! This is legit post from a real client.

Liza J. Coe, MPH, MSN, CPNP
Los Angeles, California

I don't know if I would have finished my PhD without Michael's help. He edited each chapter of my dissertation, making comments and suggestions on grammar, style, clarity, etc. He concentrated on specific areas as I requested, always delivered on time or early, and was prompt, courteous, and friendly in his communications. A great find!

Amanda Bain, Ph.D.
Los Angeles, California

I worked with Michael for three years while researching for my Doctorate in Education at Oregon State University. He was amazing with his editing, word association, extensive knowledge of APA, and attention to details such as spelling, grammar and punctuation. He understood the subject and was very helpful in clarifying my ideas and making the writing flow. He was especially helpful with the literature review, which was extensive, very difficult and required numerous drafts. He was also very effective with time and turning work around back to you.

I owe quite a bit of my accomplishment to Michael. A definite must for Masters and PhD editing, not to mention book publishing. A great source for professionals.

John Glavan, Ph.D.
Professor, Los Angeles City College
Chair, Social Studies Department
Los Angeles, California

Michael Presky really helped me get through my dissertation. I couldn't have gotten it done as soon as I did without him. Very knowledgeable and helpful -- highly recommended!

Cathy (CJ) Johnson, Ed.D., Educational Technology Associate Professor, Pasadena City College Pasadena, California

I needed an editor for a dissertation I was writing, though I had run into a couple of people who said they were editors, time showed that they knew more about charging for the work than the work itself. When I met Mike on Thumbtack, he not only came across as honest, but he put his heart into the dissertation as if it were his own. He enhanced my word usage and filled in the empty spaces with very professional linguistic tones all within a very short period of time.

What impressed me about the service is that it took all of the pressure off as my dissertation was accepted. Michael's maturity and know how went beyond that of mere money and for me, I could not think of anything which could have been better!

James Barkley, D.Min.
Doctor of Ministry, with Emphasis in Leadership
Los Angeles, California, March 3, 2013

Michael was a pleasure to work with. He was very thorough and on time and helped me a lot with my paper. His services are great and you won't be disappointed if you decide to work with him.

Aleena S., March 11, 2014

Mr. Presky is a great editor. He is very professional and organized. It's been a long time that I have worked with him. He has edited many of my papers such as term papers, research papers, and personal statements through my undergraduate and graduate school. I was always satisfied with his comments and proof-readings; they are very helpful for future writings. He is very knowledgeable and also familiar with citations and references in APA format. I am highly satisfied with his works and recommend him to everyone who's looking for a great editor.

Sam D., January 8, 2014

Mike--Thank you again for all your support with my recent academic study. Your deep expertise, incredible diligence and genuine interest in the research has truly and distinctly contributed to its success. I highly recommend you and your work based on this exceptional, comprehensive experience.

Dr. William L. Cowen IV
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Thank you for your exceptional editing on my project. Your services were exemplary. I not only thank you for your thoughtful insight and acumen regarding APA formatting but also for your timely correspondence regarding changes to the document. I will seek your services again as I make my way into the academic world.

Peter F., March 3, 2016

Mr. Presky recently edited my dissertation as part of my doctoral program at the University of New England. His prior knowledge of the program and experience with APA formatting helped me to complete and successfully defend my dissertation. The majority of our conversations occurred through email as I live in Maine and he lives in California. Mr. Presky provided a clear overview of the costs for his services and he offered multiple options for payment which was convenient. Mr. Presky provided great feedback and he met or exceeded all timelines and deadlines for submittal. I would highly recommend Mr. Presky if you have a need for editing services.

Richard G., February 6, 2016

I hired Michael to help me with my writing on a very important paper, which I was stuck on moving forward. Michael knows the right questions to ask to get you moving forward to finish the project. In addition, Michael's knowledge of APA is amazing, and his quickness to turn papers around is by far the best yet! His skillset is 5 Stars and I have recommended him to many of my colleagues.

Virginia G., August 20, 2013

I've worked with Mike for many years. He edited my papers when I was going to school and always did a great job. Since then I've had him do my business letters and such. Always helpful, prompt, and willing to do small jobs. I highly recommend him as an editor.

Howard G., January 8, 2016

Mr. Presky is an outstanding editor with both skills and patience. He helped me with revising my academic paper and gave me useful advice on how to improve my writing in the future. I definitely recommend him for people who need help with essay revision.

Zhenni Z., March 16, 2014

Mr. Presky is a wonderful editor. He is familiar with APA format, he is very professional, skilled, reliable editor. I have worked with Mr. Presky for more than five years and I highly recommend him for anyone who is working on a manuscript, paper, book.

Halle F., November 25, 2013

Michael has been amazing. Detail oriented, professional and a very good communicator. I hightly recommend him for dissertation editing services. Top notch!

Greg E., July 4, 2013

Did my dissertation. Outstanding Job! Great communication from start to finish and completed the work in a timely manner. Very meticulous, looking for every mistake and detail. Will use Michael again for future projects! - From a Doctoral Student

Charles P., June 27, 2013

Mike is an excellent and efficient editor and proofreader. He is dedicated and works in a timely and very courteous manner. He is knowledgeable and very organized. His price is also very reasonable for me since I am a student. Thanks Mike for all of your help.

Judy V., June 4, 2013

Mr. Presky is an outstanding editor. He has excellent people skills. I will recommend him to any doctoral student who needs a dissertation editor. You will not encounter any APA style issues.

Prosper Torku, February 28, 2015

Michael helped me to edit my dissertation. He was very persistent and accurate. Michael was very professional, friendly and patient. After I submitted the corrections he was very open to answer/correct any questions and minor adjustments to the paper. I am looking forward to using him in the future.

Eyanna R., February 15, 2015

I hired Mike to help me with my dissertation. Very helpful, professional, and comprehensive in his edits. I appreciated Mike's extreme attention to detail and his command of APA formatting. I have recommended him to many other of my fellow graduate students at UNE.

Laura B., January 5, 2015

Mike kindly and effectively went through my research drafts and provided many extremely helpful suggestions. He is also highly responsive to all inquires!

Dennis C., February 5, 2016

Mike Presky was an excellent help with correcting several of my graduate writting assignments. He is very reliable, patience and punctual. I highly recommend his expertise to any of my classmates.

Kim T., January 28, 2016

I am extremely happy with Michael. English is not my first language, so I desperately needed help editing my thesis. Michael was attentive and very quick!

I am definitely recommending him to some school mates.

My thesis looks unbelievable and my board are very impressive with the changes that Michael made. Thank you so much. Marialice

Marialice S., April 2, 2014

Michael Presky is a pleasure to work with. He is consistent, reliable and professional. If you give him a deadline, he meets it. He is an expert in APA editing which was required for my school journals, research papers and extensive notes. We have worked together for many years. He understands complex grading rubrics and would give feedback on how to improve, encouraging me to rewrite areas in my paper that were weak. I owe my consistent grades of "A" to him. I have recommended him to fellow advanced practice nursing students who were also pleased with his service. It is hard to find an editor who understands graduate level work. He is a jewel and I highly recommend him.

Wendy Piper, RN, BSN, MSN
Advanced Practice Nurse
Los Angeles, California

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Katherine Anne Porter

Pacific Literary Arts
Michael Presky
presky @ yahoo dot com
310 384 0590 : voice or text

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