Posted by: Dorianne Cotter-Lockard | 13 February 2009

The Wonderful World of Peer Review

I just completed reviewing six paper submissions for the Academy of Management conference coming up in August 2009.  Though it took some time to complete the reviews, I found it to be a rewarding and educational experience.  I believe that most of the papers were submitted by my peers (meaning PhD students).  A couple were really well written and the rest were so-so.  I was concerned that I would not be able to critique them, but found the process fairly smooth after the first paper.

This experience will help me in the future when I submit papers for conference presentations.  The best papers clearly stated the research literature gap that was being addressed by the paper.  They also provided a complete set of definitions and theoretical background to set the foundation of their research question.  The worst papers meandered, had grammatical errors or failed to address the promise of their introduction.

These are the reviewer guidelines provided to us by AOM.  I recommend anyone who is preparing to submit a paper to a conference apply these guidelines while reading their own paper.  Better yet, have one of your friends or colleagues read your paper and use the guidelines.

Introduction: is there a clear research question, with a solid motivation behind it? Is the research question interesting? After reading the introduction, did you find yourself motivated to read further?

Theory: Does the submission contain a well-developed and articulated theoretical framework?  Are the core concepts of the submission clearly defined?  Is the logic behind the hypotheses persuasive?  Is extant literature appropriately reflected in the submission, or are critical references missing?  Do the hypotheses or propositions logically flow from the theory?

Method (for empirical papers): Are the sample and variables appropriate for the hypotheses? Is the data collection method consistent with the analytical techniques applied? Does the study have internal and external validity? Are the analytical techniques appropriate for the theory and research questions and were they applied appropriately?

Results (for empirical papers): Are the results reported in an understandable way? Are there alternative explanations for the results, and if so, are these adequately controlled for in the analyses?

Contribution: Does the submission make a value-added contribution to existing research? Does the submission stimulate thought or debate? Do the authors discuss the implications of the work for the scientific and practice community?

The above guidelines came from the Academy of Management reviewer website (this may be a member-only site).



  1. Just passing by.Btw, your website have great content!


  2. Thanks for the guideline!

    As a pre-PhD student, I am always learning to write my papers in such a way that my Advisor need not make much corrections.

    But Advisors being Advisors, they always comb through student papers with a fine-tooth comb, LOL.

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