Friday, August 17, 2007

Writing article manuscript reviews

Via Vegreville: How to write an article manuscript review.

1. Skim the paper to get the basic argument.

2. Read the paper very carefully, making notes on things I do not understand, do not agree with, and technical details I need to think about.

3. Get away from the manuscript and think hard about it.

4. Convert the notes from step 2 into a list in a document that will be the ‘bones’ of my report.

5. Start writing a summary paragraph about the paper into that same document, and the summary paragraph will lead into my overall discussion of the paper in the report.

6. Edit the document into a coherent report. The final report includes a paper summary, a discussion of my overall views of the paper, and a page by list of questions and comments.

7. Get away from the report and think it over again.

8. Reread and edit the report again.

9. Write the letter to the editor.

10. Submit.

This describes my own approach pretty well. He says he might do numbers 6-8 many times, and that it takes a day or two. I’m not sure if I go back “many” times to the manuscript, as by the time I get to number 8 I have a clear sense of what I will be saying about it. I suppose it depends upon whether I immediately had a strong (either positive or negative) response. I also tend to start writing in prose more quickly rather than just making a list (as in number 4).


Miguel Centellas 9:20 AM  

This was incredibly useful for me, thanks! I wish they taught us these kinds of things in graduate school. I hope my review wasn't a total disaster.

Greg Weeks 12:20 PM  

This sort of thing pops up from time to time--there are many aspects of academia that are never or rarely discussed in graduate school.

Writing a Research Paper 2:56 AM  

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