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

About Dr. Cathy Miyata

Cathy Miyata is a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is also an acclaimed storyteller and writer. She has performed and lectured in Serbia, Japan, Malaysia, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Sweden, Mexico, the United States, Egypt, and across Canada

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