Peer review is more than grammar


So this is really more than just editing at a grammar level. I started by reviewing grammar, then I noticed some bigger issues with the structure and organization. If you do it right, you’ll be asking questions like: “what is this paragraph trying to say?” and “is the paper organized logically?” and “is there evidence to support these claims?” I see. Things like “how does this relate to the thesis?” and “why did you put this paragraph there?” … in addition to commas and sentence fragments? Yes! And be specific with your comments – like “do you think this paragraph would work better earlier in the paper since it has important definitions?” I’m trying to think about all of it at once – organization, spelling, the introduction, punctuation – it’s just too much! Try to prioritize the large-scale stuff before smaller sentence-y stuff. The big picture issues are critical to a coherent paper. These items are higher order and should be addressed first. Later order aren’t necessarily less important, but they are more surface-level. So what you’re saying is that I should address structural and organizational things first, like “why did you put this paragraph there?” and “does the evidence support the thesis?”. And after that, I should look for sentence fragments and commas – those later order concerns. That makes the most sense to me. I mean, it’s a waste of time to correct grammar if, for example, you find a paragraph that is repetitive and recommend to delete it. I prioritize … the big picture, cohesive stuff, then narrow my focus. OK, I’ll start with the big picture questions, like structure and organization. And end with punctuation and grammar. Yes, and all comments should be specific and helpful. So if you notice a structure or concept that is especially good, you should say why it’s good. Good point. Peer review IS more than just grammar.

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