EN 424/624 Editing and Research 



Dr. Susan Swartwout, Office: GB 318-O

phone 651-2641 or at the University Press 651-2044


office hours at the University Press, 810 Normal, Monday 1-3. Thursday 3-5


Course Description:  Practicum in the forms of editing and research commonly performed by professional writers, such as historical and data fact-checking; analysis of and collaboration with authorial style; and usage of CMS, APA, and online style manuals.

Student Learning Objectives:

·                Students will demonstrate the ability to locate and gather information commonly used by editors. Measurement (pass/fail): Satisfactory completion of two fact-finding reports.

·                Students will demonstrate the ability to think critically about editing authorial intent and structure in writing. Measurement (pass/fail):  Satisfactory completion of a style-determining editing project.

·                Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate editing issues effectively in both oral and written forms. Measurement (pass/fail):  Satisfactory presentation of an oral report and satisfactory completion of an editorial analysis of an assigned text.

Required Texts: 

         A.  Chicago Manual of Style

         B.  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association,

         C.  The Fact Checker’s Bible (Anchor)

Blog Entry:  You will be assigned a specific editing issue to research and publish to our class blog, The Existential Editor on Wordpress.  During the first week of classes, I'll invite you via email to join the blog. Once you officially sign in, you'll be able to access this invitation-only  blog.


Major project assignments:

·         Your blog entry/examination of an assigned editing issue - 10%

·         Your Chicago Manual of Style edited manuscript - 20%

·         Your American Psychological Association manual edited manuscript - 10%

·         Your fact-checking manuscript - 10%

Midterm and final  10% each

Participation and Discussion: Participation in our in-class editing checks and in discussion is crucial. If you miss the in-class editing, your editing marks and styles will not be normalized with the class, giving you a great disadvantage on the exams and your own manuscript projects. If you can't or prefer not to attend class, a practicum course like this is definitely not going to work well for you. 20%

Quizzes: Occasional and sometimes unannounced - 10%


Late work is not accepted for credit. Deadlines are a crucial element in publishing and one of the important learning experiences of this course. Any plagiarized assignments, including copying someone else's editing work, will receive an F.

• Make-up quizzes are not given. This course should be treated like a job you don’t want to lose. If you must be absent, be courteous enough to call. If work is assigned, get it done on time. In emergencies, limited extensions of work may be granted in advance of the due date

• Attend at least one of the two Visiting Writer Readings held during the semester (Walter Bargen on 9/19 or Jo McDougall on 10/24)


The syllabus is subject to change. Because this is a new class, and because the student experience with editing varies greatly, the amount of time we will devote to each section is flexible. If we need to stay with a particular section longer, we'll do so. Although assignments will be given weekly, the syllabus describes the major projects overall.


Week 1, 08/20:        Intro to course and review of editing marks, stylesheets, basic rules


Week 2, 08/27:        CMS editing       


Week 3, 09/03:        Labor Day


Week 4, 09/10:        CMS editing


Week 5, 09/17:        CMS editing         


Week 6, 09/24:        Editing poetry


Week 7, 10/01         CMS editing


Week 8, 10/08:        midterm exam              


Week 9, 10/15:        Editing tables            


Week 10, 10/22:     APA editing         


Week 11, 10/29:     APA editing   


Week 12, 11/05:     Online editing and major online style manuals


Week 13, 11/12:     Online editing           


 Week 14, 11/19:    Fact-finding research and legal usage of text in print and online 

                                    Happy Thanksgiving


Week 15, 11/26:     Fact-finding research                      


Week 16, 12/03:     E-book (re)editing               


Finals week:  Final exam on Monday evening.                       Bring your CMS and a dictionary.



Expectations and policies


Statement on Non-Discrimination: Missouri's public universities are equal-opportunity educational institutions and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, or sexual orientation for programs, activities, or employment, in accordance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Educational Amendments.


Statement on Academic Honesty: Missouri's public universities are committed to intellectual integrity in their academic pursuits. Academic dishonesty constitutes unacceptable behavior and includes unauthorized assistance in completing required course assignments or testing. Unauthorized assistance includes electronic transfer. Plagiarism, that is, submitting someone else's work or part there of, as your own, is considered to be cheating.

Breaches of intellectual integrity will result in disciplinary measures, based on the policies and procedures of the student's home institution. These may include:
1) a failing grade for a particular assignment;
2) a failing grade for the course;

3) suspension for various lengths of time from the university; and/or

4) permanent expulsion from the university.


Statement on Student Disabilities: Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request for persons with disabilities in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 If you are a person with a disability, either learning related or physical, who requires an accommodation to participate in university programs, services, or activities please contact the disability services staff at your university of record.