Bringing light to a hidden genre: the peer review report

Shannon Mason, SW Chong *

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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While early career researchers (ECRs) often read and produce articles for peer reviewed journals, they are less familiar with peer review reports (PRRs). Most ECRs learn about the genre of PRRs by reading reports on their own manuscripts and through hands-on experience crafting their own, often with little guidance or exposure to exemplars. To demystify this ‘hidden’ academic genre, this article reports on a genre analysis of 62 ‘quality’ PRRs, focusing on their communicative purposes, and the structural, content, and linguistic elements that serve to support those purposes. Findings show that the central role of the PRR is to elicit various actions on the part of manuscript authors. Other functions serve to circumvent manuscript author’s potential negative emotional response to PRRs, and this is also seen in limited use of high modality verbs and emotional language. PRRs follow a fairly uniform structure, and focus on all elements of the manuscript, with most attention given to the methods section. The paper provides numerous practical examples that provide a practical guide to support writing pedagogies related to important academic practice.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalHigher Education Research & Development
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date11 May 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 May 2022


  • Peer review
  • Academic writing
  • Researcher development
  • Genre approach
  • Writing pedagogies


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