I just finished an anonymous journal review and feel just a bit uncomfortable. Previous posts on this can be found here and here. I’ve only done a few of these in the past so I am still working on developing my writing style. I would be very interested to know how others approach these assignments, especially when faced with an essay that fails to meet even the minimum requirements for publication in an academic journal.
As mentioned in previous posts I have been the recipient of some incredibly critical reviews of my work. In every case, however, those criticisms were warranted and the final published product was better for it. That said, it can be incredibly discouraging when you open that attachment and find months and sometimes years of research and/or writing thrown into question. I guess the trick is to take the long-view of your own work. I am finding that being on the receiving end of the criticism is much easier than doling it out to someone else. At the end of the review I found myself trying to balance my criticisms with words of encouragement; I wonder if it comes off as sincere or as an attempt to put myself at ease.
As I said above, I would be interested to know how others handle these assignments. My model is based almost entirely on reviews of my work by my graduate adviser and the few critiques I’ve received regarding my own work. This is much too small of a sample. Any advice?