Journal paper Review -5 things to do while reviewing a journal paper

The term ‘review’ can be regarded as a formal and in-depth assessment of an element with the sole intent of instituting change when needed or required. In other words, in this sense, a review can be regarded as the core examination and evaluation of a journal paper in the bid to make proper changes if or when requested or necessary.

Due to the bulk nature of a journal paper, an in-depth evaluation may pose a difficult task for some scholars and students. Thus, the aim of this article is to provide proper reading steps which may aid or enhance the reviewing process of a journal paper. In this regard, a journal paper can be properly reviewed in the following simple and effective steps;

  • Effectual reading
  • Evaluation and,
  • Proper structuring.

Effectual Reading;

Simply put, effectual reading consists of the core processes of skimming, scanning and note-taking in the bid to identify or single out the errors which may be situated in the journal paper.


This can be regarded as the process of going through the pages of the paper hastily while absorbing as little information as possible, all of which will be able to give the reader a core idea or understanding of the main subject matter in the paper. In order to go through the pages as hastily as possible, the reader can use his/her fingers or a pen/pencil to follow the sentences with his/her eye movements. This will make the reader remain focused and also identify errors swiftly.

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Scanning is closely similar to skimming in the sense that, it involves quick reading and absorption of information from the reader. However, unlike skimming, scanning is only used to identify core information or points in the research. For instance, when constructing the abstract of a research journal, there is a need to identify core points such as the aim of the research, the issues revolving around the subject matter, the conclusion and so on.

Thus, in the bid to identify these points, the writer has to go through the work in a bid to determine it, during this process, the writer may ignore all forms of errors in the piece and take note of these points alone. This is basically what the scanning process entails.

Thus, in the bid to ensure a proper review of a journal paper, the writer can commence by scanning through the paper, in the bid to identify the core points in the research. After that, the next step will be to skim through the paper and take notes of the points which seem most effective and those that do not.


Evaluation, in a nutshell, can simply be regarded as the process of making a judgement about a particular piece, element or object. In this regard, evaluation can be regarded as the process of criticizing a journal paper. Thus, in the bid to successfully get through this step, the reader or writer has to look at the main points in the paper and re-skim the piece at a much slower pace.

While doing so, it is vital to ask core questions which will help the reader/ writer ascertain whether or not the contents of the paper may be in line with the subject matter of the research. These questions include;

  • Is the Abstract concise enough and, does it touch all the main points in the research?
  • Does the introduction contain enough background information regarding the subject matter of the research?
  • Is the review in line with the subject matter and, do the sources adequately define and describe the subject matter?
  • Is the argument valid and/or lucid enough?
  • Are the sentences properly structured and, are the words and punctuation marks adequate?
  • Does the research aim seem original and are the results in line with the aim?
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To get proper answers to these questions, the reader or writer can consult various past scholarly works relating to the subject matter of the journal paper and skim through it. Similarly, the writer or reader can ask a friend to go through the piece and provide honest answers to the proposed questions.

Proper Structuring of the research paper

The final step requires the act of pointing out the strengths, weaknesses, advantages and drawbacks of the research paper. In the bid to carry out the last step effectively, the writer ought to;

  • Go through the journal paper once again and provide a draft of a brief summary of the piece. This summary ought to contain the main points which were aptly provided in the journal paper.
  • Provide insights on the strengths, deficiencies, weaknesses and lessons(if any) which may have been obtained from the research.
  • Provide recommendations or modes which may help the research to be more effective and/or understandable in the future.

Alternatively, this proposed draft can be constructed by dividing it into parts such as; the introduction, body and conclusion. In this regard, the introduction ought to contain a brief summary of the paper including the subject matter or overall issue revolving around the research.

The body ought to provide core evidence relating to the subject matter and the modes in which it can be resolved or unveiled. Finally, the conclusion ought to summarize the entire paper and provide core recommendations regarding the paper.


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