What is being reviewed? What audience is reviewing it?
 scholarly journal articles  editor and author(s)
 funded research proposals  agency officials and proposer
 job recommendations  potential bosses and their bosses

Are you the correct person? Say NO if any below apply.

Assume your report won't be confidential. Never write what you can't defend to affected person about work/ideas/ability. Avoid negative comments; instead fail to praise, neglect to mention.

Papers and proposals

  1. Supply your summary of the paper/proposal. This should be better than the abstract and show you understand the work.
  2. Give clear recommendation [topic sentences]. Then explain reasons so that inexperienced editor can understand.
  3. Comment directly on the quality of figures/tables/captions.
  4. Reject papers that do not contain a least publishable unit. Reject proposals that do not contain substantial new ideas.


Letters of recommendation

  1. Explain in what way(s) you know individual. A short story helps.
  2. Answer any specific questions specifically.
  3. Give evidence for your opinions.
  4. Summarize your opinions, avoiding negative sentence at the end that could be interpreted as discreet "don't hire" opinion.

Picking and Soliciting References

Applying for non-professional job:

This includes not only bosses but others observing you in the work environment. These individuals must have been at least one level above you. For example, if you were working for one faculty member, another might have seen you on several occasions.

Applying for graduate school:


Good practices

For any reference

To cite this page:
[Wednesday, 21-Mar-2018 01:06:38 EDT]
Edited by: on Friday, 03-Feb-2006 09:54:49 EST