A comprehensive assessment of the strengths and weaknesses in a manuscript, focusing on content and how it is organized. The project’s main thesis, argument, or narrative is examined and recommendations are made for material to be expanded, tightened, or moved. The goals of developmental editing are to connect missing structural links and adjust pacing, allowing the writer to ready their text for copyediting.
A detailed review for clarity and consistency in a manuscript, focusing on grammar, spelling, punctuation, and citations. An editorial style is applied at this stage (e.g., APA, Chicago, MLA) and the project is shaped for continuity. The goals of copyediting range from fixing the general mechanical issues in a text as listed above (a light copyedit), to polishing and adjusting the flow of words and ideas (a heavy copyedit).
The final quality check before a manuscript is published, focusing on how closely the page proof adheres to the copyedited text. The goals of proofreading are to ensure that mistakes have not been introduced after formatting has been set, and that the manuscript conforms to the editorial style that was adopted in the copyediting stage.