The examination of scientific papers

While many products and services make a rough assessment of quality at first glance, scientific texts are anything but easy to evaluate.

The reasons for this lie not only in the complexity of the topics, but also in the individual approaches of the authors and the reviewers.

The creation of a scientific text is always a highly difficult and extensive task: Not only must numerous books, essays and journal articles be gone through and excerpted, but the information gained in this way must also be meaningfully related to their own topic and incorporated into the respective context of the chapter , Even with the greatest concentration, the consideration of a high scientific standard and a comprehensive annotation apparatus, the concrete mental process of creation often remains hidden from the reader.

Even if two authors work on the same question using the same literature and the same formal guidelines, completely different texts can arise. The reasons:

  • The individual evaluation of the topics: Which aspect is important? How much space does this aspect receive in the work? At what point will this be discussed?
  • Is the work more theoretical or empirical? What are the strengths or interests of the author?
  • Do conscious or unconscious ideological assumptions flow in?
  • What is the personal style? What knowledge does the author require from the reader?

Accordingly, the evaluation can be made only very individually. It can not rely on the specification of a concrete royal road, but at best on hints:

  • Was the specific topic apt and sufficiently dealt with in relation to the scope of the work?
  • Have scientific formalities been complied with?
  • Have the main terms been academically defined and used coherently?
  • To what extent have their own trains of thought been developed and justified?
  • Are theory and empiricism in a meaningful relationship?

It is fruitful if, in addition to the mere evaluation, an exchange process occurs, which gives the authors the opportunity to reflect on their working methods and thus gradually improve them.