Writing Book Reviews Editorial Instructions

Because book reviews are not normally refereed, editors need to make clear what they require. Thus, there are usually instructions on these matters for

Table 3.7.1 The hidden meanings of phrases in book reviews

'This is a surprising book'

This is better than expected

Not much in this but one or two chapters worth thinking about

'A useful book for the library' Not very exciting

'The discussion is somewhat abstruse' I could not understand much of this

'For the most part this is a thorough, lucid and well-argued book but a few weaknesses can be noted. First . ..'

That's done the praise bit, now let's get down to the criticisms

'In my view more scholarly references would be better for the readers of this text than the par-boiled information referred to on web sites' This is a light weight text and/or My scholarship is superior to that of the authors

'The author has presented opposing views fairly, although instances of bias are detectable by the omission of some critical references' He has left out my key paper on . . .

'This is a useful account of unastonishing work' Oh dear . . .

(Last sentence) 'The authors' position leads them to omit key research and to propose work that is complex and interesting but which will not improve the education of children' Ouch!

Bressler (1999) comments: 'The reviewer is able to compress complex ideas into a snappy 600 words and to substitute veiled allusion for systematic argument because he can trust his readers to decipher the message'. (p. 709)

Updated from Hartley (2006). Reprinted with permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. © James Hartley, 2006.

potential book reviewers. Such instructions typically cover technical matters, and content.

0 0

Post a comment