A High-Quality Academic Book Review
I’ve recently been assigned the role of Book Review Editor for ASQ’s Quality Management Journal starting with the second issue in 2013, under the guidance of new Editor, Larry Fredendall of Clemson University. As we are preparing our book reviews for this issue, Matthias Thurer (who will also be preparing regular reviews with me) asked me for guidelines and what constitutes a “good” review. Here is my message for Matthias, as well as for any of you who are interested in preparing a book review for an academic journal.
In my opinion, the book review should be 500 to 900 words and discuss some or all of the following, as appropriate. These questions, which have been adapted from wendybelcher.com, are consistent with the excellent structure adhered to by the late James Kohnen who served as the QMJ Book Review Editor for many years:
- What are the 1-3 main messages of the book?
- Does the book achieve its stated goals?
- Is the book a contribution to the field or discipline, and if so, what is that primary contribution?
- Does the book relate to a current debate or trend in the field and if so, how?
- Is the book well-written? What is the writing style and who would it appeal to?
- How accurate is the information (e.g., the footnotes, bibliography, dates)? Who would benefit from reading this book?
- How does the book compare to other books in the field?
- If it is a textbook, what courses can it be used in and how clear is the book’s structure and examples?
If you know of a recently released (or pre-release) book that is relevant to academics and practitioners in quality management, or would like to prepare a book review for our pipeline into the QMJ, please let me know by email (at myfirstname dot mylastname at gmail)! We will be including 3-5 book reviews in each issue of the QMJ.
I invite you to add to this discussion – as a reader or writer, what are your criteria for a high-quality book review? Please share in the comments.