How to review the best dissertation editing services

Review the reviews

Didn’t our parents warn us not to believe everything we read? This advice rings especially true online where trust, ethics, and honesty are often thrown out of the window in favor of more website visitors and better search rankings. Unless you’ve been hiding under a shell, you know about the shady practice many websites deploy to publish stellar, but fake, reviews. There are contractors who specialize in publishing this nonsense. There’s even a counter industry and services emerging to filter real reviews from fake ones.

Fortunately, when you’re reviewing editors, there are some simple things you can arm yourself with when you review competing dissertation editing services.


7 tips to review the best dissertation editing services

Image Source: XKCD,


7 things to review to find the best dissertation editing services

When you’re searching for the best dissertation editing services for your doctoral research, don’t succumb to the lure of raving reviews without doing some due diligence. Review the reviews. Here are the key things to look for when you filter real reviews from phony ones.

  1. Generic names. Do all the names of the “reviewers” sound generic? The use of John Smith, Mary Jane, or Bob Jones says that the website has farmed out their reviews to a part of the world where they stereotypically think all Americans still name their kids based on a bygone era. (By the way, the study of names is called Onomastics. It’s a fascinating field.)
  2. Skimpy details. Are the dissertation topics for each reviewer revealed? Our company has been editing dissertations since 2007.  I haven’t come across a single client who has requested that we omit the title of their dissertation from their review. In fact, many have asked just the opposite because they are proud to stand behind the years of research, conversations, and hard work they have endured.
  3. Redundancy. Do all the reviews look the same? It’s almost like they played a couple of rounds of Boggle, had a few drinks, and used a list of synonyms or adjectives to craft their reviews.
  4. Access to reviewers. The best dissertation editing services are also the ones that earn their clients’ respect. Clients will give the company permission to be contacted by doctoral students who wish to validate the client’s experience the with the editing company. This is the holy grail of validating reviews; complete access to the reviewer so you can speak with them. Gramlee’s service encourages and allows for this type of request from doctoral students looking for an editor. We have contact info on file for each client who provided a review. We have been granted permission from our clients to contact them with requests from other doctoral students who would like to validate reviews.
  5. Language and grammar. Run, don’t walk, if an editing service can’t even post a client review using proper grammar! Many fake reviews are produced by people who are not native English speakers or live in countries where English isn’t commonly spoken. There will be simple tell signs such as poor grammar or misspellings. If the reviews are really coming from doctoral students and posted on an editing company’s website, grammatical errors should be a big red flag.
  6. Domestic editor. It’s true that talent knows no borders. This tip is – admittedly – a guideline based on our experience more than cold, hard facts. It’s best to find a dissertation editing company that is based in the same country that your academic institution resides. Domestic companies tend to understand the educational climate, expectations by dissertation committees, and cultural and socio-political undercurrents of the region better than companies that are offshore. Many doctoral students have come to Gramlee for help after having first gone to an offshore editor. They say their offshore editor was tone-deaf to cultural nuances (not the editor’s fault). This impacts the tone of the dissertation when the client’s research is analyzing sensitive issues that demand cultural awareness.
  7. Do editors want to work there? Academic editors worth their words typically want to work for genuine, respected, and established dissertation editing companies. Do a quick Google search of the company name followed by the word “jobs” to see if they’re hiring and if blogs by other editors mention the company as a viable place to apply as an editor. Gramlee is fortunate to be mentioned by many other blogs as a place where happy editors want to apply. We treat our editors well, and many have been with us for over a decade.