Journal of Applied Linguistics, Vol 1, No 3 (2004)

An 'important contribution' or 'tiresome reading'? A study of evaluation in peer reviews of journal article submissions

Martin Hewings
Issued Date: 2 May 2007


While the process of peer reviewing journal articles submitted for publication has been extensively investigated, particularly in the biomedical field, the language of peer reviews is relatively unexplored. This paper studies evaluation in an electronic corpus of 228 reviews submitted to the journal English for Specific Purposes (ESP). The research focuses on the things (or entities) evaluated and the adjectives associated with these. Entities and adjectives are categorised and quantified in order to ascertain what things are valued by reviewers and the qualities by which they are judged. The findings suggest that reviewers take on multiple roles, at the same time discouraging the publication of work that fails to meet the required standards and offering encouragement to authors and guiding them towards publication. These findings have implications for authors submitting research papers, those who support authors in this process, and journal editors.

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DOI: 10.1558/japl.v1i3.247

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