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Reviewer Guidelines

Technical Communication Quarterly

Serving as a reviewer is an important contribution to Technical Communication Quarterly and to the field. This page has information for scholars who review manuscripts for TCQ.

General Review Guidance

Thank you for serving as a reviewer for TCQ. To clarify expectations regarding your role, below is some general guidance about reviewing manuscripts:

  • Your primary role as reviewer is formative: to help authors make their strongest contribution to the field.
  • Point out strengths as well as weaknesses in the manuscript. Use a kind tone.
  • Give detailed comments. Explain why something is strong/well done or why something is problematic/confusing/lacking.
  • Give actionable feedback. Suggest specific actions the author might take to improve a manuscript.
  • If you choose to mark in-text feedback on the manuscript, there’s no need to mark every instance of a problem. Instead, mark the first couple and then note for the author to fix throughout.
  • There’s no need to proofread. Focus on the major arguments and contribution to the field.

Review Questions

Please reflect upon the following questions to inform your recommended decision. You do not have to submit a response to every question below, but these questions should guide the content of your review feedback.

  • Scholarly Contribution: What does this manuscript contribute to the field that extends (rather than just replicates) existing research? (Note: “Extending” can include refuting or conflicting with previous work, as well as shedding new light in some confirmatory way.) How significant is this contribution?
  • Fit: Is the topic of this manuscript relevant to TCQ’s readers? If TCQ is not a good fit, try to suggest an alternative venue.
  • Scholarly Context: Is the research situated within current technical and professional communication scholarship, as well as relevant scholarship beyond the field? Suggest additional sources--especially by multiply marginalized and underrepresented scholars--that could inform and improve the manuscript.
  • Inclusivity: How could the language be more inclusive: e.g., intentionally addressing diverse audiences, eliminating oppressive rhetoric, replacing unnecessary jargon, and defining expert terminology?
  • Organization: Is content signaled clearly through the title, abstract, descriptive headings, signposting of upcoming content, topic sentences? How could the flow of ideas be improved?
  • Coherence: Do sections of the manuscript inform one another?
    For example: 
    Is the exigence/purpose laid out in the introduction fulfilled by the end of the manuscript?
    Do the theoretical and methodological frameworks explicitly inform the design of the methods? the interpretation of the findings? 
    Does the literature review establish a context that helps you understand the importance, history, or contribution of the research reported in other sections of the manuscript?
  • Validity/Trustworthiness: What aspects of the manuscript build confidence in the author’s assertions? Is sufficient detail provided regarding methods (e.g., both data collection and data analysis for empirical work or epistemological foundations for theory building, etc)? Are implications (takeaways/recommendations/conclusions) well supported by findings or other relevant sections? 

Recommended Decision

Please recommend a decision on this manuscript:

  • Accept: This manuscript needs no changes or needs only minor proofreading. No further review is needed.
  • Minor Revision: This manuscript is almost publishable, but it needs needs a fairly significant word count reduction, needs substantial proofreading throughout, or needs small content changes (e.g., defining a term, clarifying a point, tightening up a redundant passage). Authors are invited to submit a revised manuscript, which may not be sent out for another review if revisions are minor enough.
  • Major Revision: This manuscript could be a good fit for TCQ and could make an important scholarly contribution if significant changes are made (e.g., much more detailed methods, replacing sections of the literature review, shifting the overall argument of the piece). Authors are invited to submit a revised manuscript for subsequent review.
  • Reject: This manuscript isn’t a good fit for the journal (e.g., it cites little to no TPC scholarship; it replicates existing research with little promise for extending TPC scholarship). Or it seems unlikely the manuscript could become publishable with a few weeks’ worth of work (e.g., the research study would have to be redesigned or expanded, the genre is not a fit for any of the manuscript types accepted by TCQ, etc). A revised manuscript may not be submitted.