Educational Theory

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Guidelines for Review Feedback

Your feedback helps us in two ways. First, it is indispensable to the editor in making a fair determination regarding whether to publish this manuscript. Second, whether the essay is rejected or accepted, your comments provide valuable advice for the author to consider in improving his or her work. Even accepted papers typically go through further revision before publication — so your reviews play a direct role in improving the quality of the articles that appear in Educational Theory.

The reviews that are most helpful provide:

  1. A global evaluation that is discerning — that doesn’t just accept a paper because there’s nothing much wrong with it, but asks, “Am I glad that I read this paper? Did I learn something from it? Will other people want to read it?”
  2. A detailed assessment of the major arguments of the paper: where they are strong, where they are weak, and how they could be improved. Often reviewers can help authors strengthen their arguments by posing potential counterarguments, by suggesting alternative formulations of key positions, by suggesting areas for elaboration, and/or by pointing out additional sources that the author ought to read and consider.

It is also helpful to specify a recommendation. The recommendation options are:

  • Accept submission (may still suggest revisions)
  • Revisions Required (accept only on condition that the author makes specified changes)
  • Resubmit for Review (manuscript is of interest but requires substantial revision; reject in current form, but with revisions it could be worth reviewing again)
  • Resubmit elsewhere (may suggest other journals)
  • Decline submission (may still suggest areas needing improvement)

In practice, the most difficult judgments are between “Revisions Required” and “Resubmit for Review.” Once a paper is accepted on condition of making specific changes (i.e., receives a “Revisions Required” decision), it will almost certainly appear in the journal, so it must be fundamentally sound. Authors do not always follow all the recommendations for revision. A “Resubmit for Review” decision, on the other hand, establishes a greater expectation that there is likely to be additional review of the paper and that it will not be published unless the author makes the changes specified.

I take the reports from all the reviewers, along with my own review notes, and communicate a decision along with feedback to the authors. In most cases you will not see the same manuscript again unless I need to know whether you think the revisions address your concerns. In most cases I will make that determination myself, to relieve you of extra work.

Finally, please know that our review process is doubly anonymous: we do not tell the authors who the reviewers are, and as much as possible we try to shield the identity of the authors from the reviewer. If you think you can guess the author of a manuscript, however, that is not necessarily a disqualification from reviewing it.