How to Peer Review Research Manuscripts for Social Science

28 Nov

Are you being invited by journal editors to review research manuscripts? Do you find reviewing a time-­‐consuming, difficult or stressful activity? This workshop will explain how the peer review system works, and what is expected of reviewers. You will learn how to review manuscripts quickly and effectively.

Peer review helps to ensure the quality and reputation of published academic research. Journal editors are reliant on experts who can deliver independent reviews in a timely fashion. For the peer review system to work, researchers who publish must reciprocate by reviewing the work of others. Therefore, the ability to review manuscripts for journals is a core skill that every researcher must acquire.

A recent survey of postdocs showed that many inexperienced reviewers can spend an excessive amount of time reviewing a manuscript. By learning how to review manuscripts quickly, you will have more time for your own research. But how long should you spend reviewing a manuscript? And what should you write in your review? Find out in this workshop with the results from an extensive survey of editors of international peer reviewed journals. The main focus will be on Social Science journals, with advice on best practice based on the views of 114 editors of sociology, economics, law, anthropology, archaeology, geography and politics journals.

At the end of this workshop participants will have learnt:

  • how the peer review system works
  • about their responsibilities as reviewers
  • what editors expect in a review
  • why the peer review system can sometimes go wrong
  • how to critically evaluate a research manuscript
  • what to include in written comments to editors and authors
  • how long they should spend reviewing a manuscript
  • practical methods for reviewing a manuscript quickly and effectively.


Facilitator: Dr David Jones (contact: )
After several postdoc contracts, David is now a research biologist at the Natural History Museum in London. David is also an external lecturer on an MSc course at Imperial College London. Over the last twelve years David has also been teaching a range of transferable skills to PhD students, postdocs and university staff on courses run by Research Councils UK, Vitae and the British Council. David is an award winning public speaker, and five times winner of Toastmasters’ UK & Ireland Impromptu Speech championship.

Course Type
Research and Leadership Management
Intended Audience
Year 1 DPhil
Year 2 DPhil
Year 3+ DPhil
Post-docs & Early Career Researchers

Social Sciences Divisional Office
Hayes House
75 George Street
Oxford OX1 2BQ