Review letter


  • To learn how to communicate feedback to authors & build relationships with them
  • To differentiate high-level editorial concerns from low-level concerns
  • To apply critique to productive revision startegies
  • To practice analysis and evaluation within new genres and across media types


  1. The webtext example we looked at in class (DropBox/dev-editing/DN_Adams)
  2. The sample review/revision letters from previous Kairos webtexts (DropBox/dev-editing/Kairos-R&Rs/).
  3. Kairos submissions page


  1. Situate yourself within the venue: Your role here is to function as a reviewer/editorial board member of the publication in which this piece has been published. Familiarize yourself more with Kairos webtexts and the mission of the Praxis section of the journal by reading the submissions page and reading around and looking at sample webtexts in Kairos. You want to see how they’re designed, figure out why they’re designed the way they are (given their arguments), and create a rough set of criteria that you will use to evaluate the webtext in the Dropbox.
  2. Read/review the webtext. With the values that you glean from reading the journal (venue, audience, disciplinary conversations, journal section, design conventions, etc.), read the webtext “generously” (meaning, give yourself some time to figure out how it works, why it works the way it does, and, if there are places in the text where you’re not sure — or don’t like — what an author has done, try to figure out what their reasoning for doing it that way was). Take notes on how and why you react/respond to the piece as you read. You should use the evaluation criteria as touchstones for explaining how/why you read the piece as you did. Does, in other words, the piece meet the values/expectations/criteria? Does it miss anywhere? For all questions such as this, the questions “Why” and “How” will probably need to be addressed in your review letter. From your notes, figure out the main points you want to address in regards to the peer-review criteria, and begin to summarize your thoughts in relation to those criteria.
  3. Write the review letter. Write a 1-2(ish) page, single-spaced letter (in a word-processing document) that will be given to the authors of the webtext. In this letter, you should discuss how the piece meets (or doesn’t meet) the evaluation criteria you created from reading the journal. The letter should be addressed to the author. The letter should be more formal than colloquial and should contain feedback for the author that is constructive and offers revision suggestions, if you have any (and you should have *some* revision suggestions). As a peer-reviewer and editor, you are an expert in the field and are qualified to evaluate this piece of multimodal scholarship. Write from that voice/knowledge. Use the sample review letters in the Kairos-R&R folder, particularly Mueller-R&R.pdf, as examples.
  4. Upload the letter to Dropbox/dev-editing/revision-letters by the start of class on Nov. 17.

Some basic suggestions for drafting the letter:

  1. the beginning paragraph of the letter often summarizes the submission’s purpose back to the editors/author, to ensure that you understood the piece and evaluated it with the criteria in mind; and
  2. remember that the author of the publication is your audience but that a senior editor will also read and review your comments. All around, make sure your language is helpful and respectful.
  3. We will talk more about what criteria you used to review the webtext in class on Tuesday, Nov. 17. As you’re writing your letters, remember that some reviewers address the criteria directly, and others do it implicitly. In any case, make sure that your revision suggestions are clear. HOWEVER: Using the criteria explicitly, as if writing a literary analysis where each paragraph starts by listing and defining one criterion and then points to examples of the text that (don’t) exemplify that criterion is NOT very professional. A peer-review letter shouldn’t look or sound like a literary (or rhetorical) analysis; that is not an appropriate genre for you to uptake/use for this assignment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *