Reviewing is the process of providing feedback on material produced by another writer (or group of writers). Changes are not made in the material but can be provided in the form of:
- A separate document or email that contains the feedback
- Comments within the documents itself
- A face-to-face discussion
Defining a review
Which issues are covered in a review, and which are fixed or pointed out during the editing process? That must be agreed upon by the parties who are involved. Most commonly, reviewers concentrate on the content, accuracy and structure of a document. Issues of spelling, grammar, stylesheet and style guide compliance, indexing, etc. are left to the editors.
However, some writing teams prefer to cover issues, including those normally included in the editing process, in the review process. This is usually a learning experience for the writer and can be particularly appropriate for novice technical writers. It can be useful, because inadequacies or misunderstandings concerning the stylesheet or style guide can be discovered and eliminated.
It is important that some part of the review process (or editing process) includes:
- Structure and layout
- In help systems:
- Linking between topics
- Inclusion in the table of contents
- Inclusion in browse sequences
- Appropriate indexing
- In books or other large documents:
- Linking between sections
- Appropriate indexing
Benefits of the review process
Regardless of exactly what is included in the review process, there are many benefits.
- A reviewer sees things from a different perspective and can find ways to improve the content.
- By following a checklist, the reviewer checks things that the writer might have neglected.
- The review process ensures that writers continue to learn and improve their skills.
- As reviewers are often writers themselves, it is a learning experience.
Editing is the process of correcting or adjusting a document before publication or distribution. It is an important part of quality assurance.
The Editing Process
Which issues are fixed during editing, and which are addressed during the review process. That must be agreed upon by the parties who are involved.
Most commonly, editing technical documents involves concentrating on issues such as:
Editing can also include modifying structure and layout. However, normally such issues, as well as content, are usually addressed by reviewers.
Quality Assurance Editor
According to signetinteractive.com, a quality assurance editor is one that, “ensures content quality excellence from conception to publication. The Q.A. Editor is responsible for researching, planning, reviewing, content expansion, production, and administration of content through … editorial process”(Quality assurance editor, 2011).
Types of Editors
While some businesses have positions specifically titled Quality Assurance, the title is more often used as an umbrella term for editors who work to ensure the highest quality product possible. Below are some examples of editors who work under the overarching goal of quality assurance.
From “5 Different Types of Editors” by Emma Woolley on Career Bear:
- Editors-in-chief: Overarching, high ranked editor who ensures that all pieces of the publication are consistent with company goals and standards.
- Acquisitions Editors: Preliminary editors who gather new writers, stories and manuscripts. Duties also include reviewing pitches and determining which submissions move on to higher editors. Most common in book publishing.
- Developmental/substantive editors: Help writers through the entire process from start to finish. May help with ideas and delegate them to writers. Guide writers from the inception of an idea to the finished product.
- Copy Editors: Concerned with the grammar, word choice, punctuation, and spelling. They also ensure that each piece adheres to the style guidelines set by the commissioning publisher/client. Some copy editors may also be required to proofread, check facts, and write titles or headlines.
- Online Editors: Require a mix of skills involved in all phases of editing to publish, edit, and regulate online material. Responsibilities also include format design, artwork selection, and making relevant connections.
Qualifications for a Quality Assurance Editor
Editors are involved with the production of a project from its discovery to its publication. A multitude of skills are required to ensure that the work is accurate, coherent, and consistent. In some instances, editors may work on 10-15 different publications at a time (M. Daniello, 2013). It is essential to be able to keep track of each project’s progress through various stages. Editors must possess excellent communications skills as well; such skills facilitate the movement of projects back and forth between the authors, other editors, managers and proofreaders (M. Daniello, 2013). Signetinteractive.com gives an overview of some essential qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree (English, Communications, or related fields)
- Experience in related fields (Editing, website management, and social media)
- Good researching skills
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Proficient in organization, multitasking, and critical thinking
According to signetineractive.com, quality assurance editors have a variety of responsibilities:
- Work cooperatively to identify business goals and needs
- Be proficient in citation and reference notation, including MLA, APA, and Chicago styles
- Identify and analyze business competition
- Revise and edit company documents and publications
Mary Daniello, Productions Manager at John Wiley and Sons publishing company, also emphasizes the importance of working within two strict confines: a deadline and a budget. She states that the main goal of an editor is to provide “Quality products, on time, within budget” (Daniello, 2013).
Chand, E. (2011, March 07). The Importance of Editing: 6 Tips To Help Make the Most of Your Manuscript. Retrieved from http://www.novelpublicity.com.
Ng, Monica. Editing vs. Revision. Retrieved from Student Learning Center, University of California, Berkley http://slc.berkeley.edu/writing/EditingvRevision.htm
Quality assurance editor position. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.signetinteractive.com.
Woolley , E. (2011, November 30). 5 different types of editors. Retrieved from http://careerbear.com.
Other Editing Resources
Content partially developed by Caren Fitzgerald, Jessica Stanley, and Alex Lindstrom