- What is the purpose of the document?
- Who will read it and why?
- What should readers know or do as a result?
- How much do readers already know about the subject?
- In what circumstances will they read it?
- Will they read the document from start to finish or select sections?
- Will they use the document for reference or information?
The editor will use the answers to these questions to complete the substantive edit. The components of the substantive edit are:
- Ensure the information is complete and appropriate, and determine whether additional material or reader aids (such as illustrative material, glossary or index) are required.
- Identify whether any major rewriting is required and, if so, agree on who will do this.
- Determine whether any rearrangement, expansion or summarising of sections is required to achieve the most logical structure, and whether any material should be relegated to an appendix or vice versa. If so, agree on who will do this.
- Ensure the document contains appropriate navigation aids, such as headings or internal links.
Language and style editing
- Ensure language and form are appropriate to the readership.
- Ensure there is a logical flow and appropriate weighting of discussion.
- Ensure information and arguments are presented clearly and unambiguously.
- Delete any unnecessary repetition, as well as redundancies, contradictions and irrelevant material.
- Eliminate wordiness, triteness, repetition, and inappropriate jargon.
- Improve awkward phrasing.
- Ensure consistency in tone and writing style, while still retaining the author’s style (unless directed otherwise).
Clarity of presentation
Back to levels of editing
- Check that the presentation is simple and effective.
- Ensure document title and all headings accurately reflect contents.
- Check appropriateness, placement and clarity of tables, figures and other illustrative material.
- Check material in tables and figures against textual references and for accuracy where required.
- Ensure appropriate referencing is included.
- Where necessary, ensure that explanations of symbols, abbreviations and terms are incorporated in the text or glossary.