This guest post is from Sue Starfield, professor in the School of Education and the Director of the Learning Centre at UNSW Australia. Sue’s interests include tertiary academic literacies, doctoral writing, writing for publication and identity in academic writing. If you enjoy this, you may like these related posts.
It struck me recently that I spend large amounts of my everyday academic life carrying out reviews of various sorts. Besides the ongoing feedback I provide to my doctoral students on their writing, usually through ‘track changes’, I do many other kinds of reviews. Quite a number of these are quite high stakes such as examining a doctoral thesis or reviewing a book proposal for a publisher for example. Yet it is difficult, if not impossible, to gain access to exemplars of these kinds of texts.
Hyland and Diani (2009, p. 1) noted that “what academics mainly do is evaluate”. As Langveldt and Kyvik (2011, p. 199) point out in their examination of the multiple roles researchers play as evaluators in the course of their academic lives, these roles often have a gatekeeping function as researchers “provide or deny access to opportunities for fellow colleagues to do research, to publish research, and to get tenure or promotion”. But if these review/evaluation genres are not publicly available, how then do doctoral students as early career academics learn to write them? Continue reading