If you need an editor, take the time to review your work carefully before shelling out up to $100 per hour or more for a professional to fix errors that you can find. Common mistakes include:
1. References Check. If you cite a work, double check that it is cited also in the references page and cited correctly. You know how to do this by now, and it is surprising how many careless errors those diligent editors will find, so beat them to it. This includes dates and spelling of names. It also includes delineating between source material a and b if you have the same author and date that could confuse your reader (Example: Eisner, 2009a or Eisner, 2009b).
2. Number Check. Write out numbers except in these cases: minutes, hours, weeks, days, years (not school years – example 4th grade, not fourth grade), decades, or time-related data (write four people, but 4 hours). Use numerals for 10 and over as well as percentages (also use the % symbol here).
3. Acronym Check. Define acronyms your first time in the paper. Thereafter, use ONLY the acronym, even if it feels like your reader may have forgotten the acronym or you haven’t mentioned it in a while. This took me a long time to fix when it was pointed out to me. Use the full term in table titles and table of contents.
4. Table Check. Use a 10, 11, or 12-point font with projections in parentheses. Be sure your table fits on one page with descriptive text above it. Title should be in italics as well as the word at the bottom, “Note.” Follow this with any further description of the table, but do not put this part in italics.
5. Form and Style Guide Check. Your school may have a form and style guide that will trump any rules in the APA manual. It is wise to know this guide inside and out before submitting your work to an editor if you decide to use one.
I’m still working out tables, but these are the areas that I could have saved some cash by sitting down one, two, or ten more times with my document. My bank account would be thanking me now, but at least I have a starting point for another submission. Let me know any other tips that editors flagged for you!