How to Give Critical Feedback
by Paul of Tarsus & Co.,
with Sheila E. McGinn
on a Colleague's Paper
When reading the paper, shape your attitude to seek what
you can learn from it: "As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe
yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience"
Make as clear and fair a report of the thesis and evidence
as you can: ". . . let us hold fast to what we have attained"(Phil
Accentuate the positive: ". . . whatever is true, whatever
is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing,
whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything
worthy of praise, think about these things" (Phil 4:8).
Begin the review by summarizing whatever substantive and methodological
advances you see in this study.
You do not need to like the author nor what the person says,
but you must be polite: ". . . get rid of such things as anger, wrath,
malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth (Col 3: 8).
When there are factual errors, correct them, but "let your
gentleness be known to everyone" (Phil 4:5).
Remember, it might have been you a few weeks ago.
Summarize the limitations of the study, giving positive and
concrete suggestions for improvement.
Mention the interesting questions it raises for further research
and discussion. As Paul said, ". . . straining forward to what lies
ahead, I press on toward the goal . . . ." (Phil 3:13-14).
Peer Review Form