Daily Archives: January 24, 2014

Writing a Review Takes TIME

I (Cathy) discovered, having just submitted my first academic book review, that the process takes TIME.   The T in my acronym represents allowing for lots of time to move through the process. The I represents investigating the journal for which I am submitting.  The M is for mining the book under review. The E is for editing- of course- what would writing be without editing?  I developed my TIME acronym through both the experience of writing the review and doing some homework on review writing.  One of the suggestions I came across, which was a valuable piece of advice, was to allow one month to write the review:  two weeks to read the book; one week to write the review; and one week to edit the work.  This turned out to be true.  There was no hurrying the process.  I also spent time reading many other reviews from the same journal for which I was submitting.  This was the investigation part.  I compared five reviews for style, content and length.  One was much more academic in style than the others.  All were not hesitant to praise the work.  This was reassuring, as I liked the book a lot.  The mining part was the surprise.  As I read the book, I listed the things I liked about it and possible flaws, only to discover that when I got to the end, it was not enough information.  I had to read it again and work harder at comparing the chapters for content consistency, look for related themes and any patterns the editors may have requested.  I also spent a lot more time scrutinizing the forward and conclusion and discovered some great quotes I had missed the first time.  This was similar to reading a book in order to teach it.  Impressions are not enough.  I needed more meat.   And finally came the editing.  After several iterations, I thought it was ready for someone else to see.  I gave it to five people to read. Every one of them found corrections and made suggestions. Some I used, while others were stylistic suggestions that I let pass.  All were insightful.  The best part though, was the response.  When one of my friendly editors replied, “You really made me want to read this book!”  then I knew the review hit its mark.  Like I said, I liked the book.  Oh, and by the way, the book is called Literacy teacher educators: Preparing teachers for a changing world.  I recommend it!     BTW  The journal I submitted to is called Research in Teacher Education.  Excellent resource!  Check it out…  http://www.uel.ac.uk/rite