Writing Sample: Empirical Paper

Title: Opening a Dialogue

Class: ELANG 350, Basic Copyediting, at Brigham Young University

Audience: Editors, authors, and people interested in editing

Instructions to the Writer: The purpose of the empirical paper was to learn about and research (empirically, as you’ve probably guessed) methods of editing. Writers could choose from several topics; I picked the question, “How can an editor establish authority and persuade an author to accept an edit?” After reading a scholarly article on the subject, I was directed to create a survey to test what I’d learned; I then analyzed and presented my data in the paper.

This paper represents an investment of time that was rewarded with great insights into authors’ reactions to edits. Several professional writers, including award-winning novelist James A. Owen (Here, There Be Dragons), took the survey, so it can be trusted as relevant to the publishing world.