The experimental production of an index to book reviews of medical publications is described. Details of compilation and preparation of data for processing by an IBM 1440 computer are outlined. Results of a survey testing the response to the index in its present form by medical libraries are presented.
In a study of book reviews published in four general medical journals over a six-month period, 480 reviews were analyzed. Twenty-five features that reviewers address when evaluating a text were identified, and the frequency of commentary for each feature was determined. The mean number of features addressed per review was 9.0. Reviews averaged 389 words, but review length did not correlate with the length or scope of the book, with the number of features addressed, nor with the reviewer's assessment of the text. Extraneous commentary by the reviewer occurred in 16% of the reviews. This editorializing appeared in lengthier reviews that addressed fewer features. Favorable reviews were far more common than unfavorable ones (88.5% vs. 11.5%). Consequently, for the fifty-five books reviewed in more than one journal, agreement regarding rating of the text was high (86%). Results of this study may provide useful guidelines for reviewers of medical texts.
Professor Jonathan Jansen, Dean of the Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria reviewed these books Monday 8th May 2006 at the Liberty Theatre on the Square, Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton, Johannesburg.; The books we publish offer a window on the status of scholarship in the discipline, and it is with this in mind that prof Jonathan Jansen reviews three education books each published in 2006 by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) Press. These are three very different books: a doctoral-dissertation-turned-into-a-book on the attempted reform of Jewish community schools in Johannesburg (Chaya Herman, University of Pretoria; a segmental study (one part of a larger research project on racial integration and social cohesion) on a teacher education (the Post-Graduate Certificate in Education, or PGCE) programme at three universities – former white Afrikaans, former white English, and black campuses - and how each institution prepares students for diversity in schools (Crispin Hempson, University of KwaZulu Natal); an edited collection of papers on the subject of matriculation examinations presented at a national colloquium (Vijay Reddy, Human Sciences Research Council)
Since the 1990s, there has been an increasing interest in the study of genres (Swales 1990). Recent research on the academic journal book review (BR) has shown that the BR in English is shaped according to a rhetorical structure that gives it genre status (Motta-Roth 1998). However, it is not known whether this rhetorical structure is shared by comparable texts in other languages. This chapter carried out an English-Spanish cross-linguistic study of the rhetorical structure of BRs on the basis of two comparable corpora of 20 BRs of literature in each language. The main results show that, despite sharing similar overall patterns of organization, the Spanish BRs of literature develop more descriptive moves and are less likely to end with criticism-loaded strategies.; Peer reviewed
Moreno, A.I. & Suárez, L. (forthcoming). Academic book reviews in English and Spanish: critical comments and rhetorical structure, in Hyland, K. and G. Diani (eds). Academic Evaluation: Review Genres in University Settings. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave-Macmillan.-- Expected publication date: 2009-08-28.; Reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan.; Given the increasing pressure felt by many Spanish scholars to publish in English, writing academic book reviews for an international audience might become a possible strategy to make their names more visible. However,
Spanish writers of book reviews of literature might have initial problems with publishing academic book reviews in Anglo-American journals since they have a suspicious tendency to almost exclusively praise the book. This total lack of unbiased objective assessment might have the effect of undermining the reliability and credibility of the reviewer and of the book’s worth, thus resulting in the rejection of the text. In an attempt to further understand the conventions of this genre cross-culturally, the major purpose of the present chapter is to compare how critical attitude towards the book
under review is measured out throughout the rhetorical structure of academic book reviews to achieve the genre’s main communicative purpose in each case. The study focuses on two comparable corpora of literary book reviews of
This paper was presented at the InterLAE Conference, organised by Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain), Departamento de Filología Inglesa y Alemana (http://www.unizar.es/interlae/conference08.html) in JACA on 11-13 December 2008; Reviewing an academic book can be considered as a potential face-threatening act. The aim of the present paper is to provide insight into how scholars from different but comparable writing cultures manage the potential academic conflict caused by reviewing an academic book. Based on two comparable corpora of 20 academic book reviews of literature written in international English and 20 in Castilian Spanish, the paper compares the frequency and type of critical comments made by the reviewers on the book under review as a function of the size of the academic community the author of the book and the reviewer belong to. Critical comments are defined as positive or negative appreciations of a given aspect or sub-aspect of the book under review. They are identified, interpreted and measured in a way that takes the co-text and the rhetorical context into account, irrespective of their lexico-grammatical realisation. The results show that the Castilian Spanish writers of literary academic book reviews are much less critical in general and show a much lower tendency to evaluate the book negatively than their Anglo-American counterparts. Contextual information provided by the book review writers through an e-mail questionnaire supports the hypothesis that a close personal or professional relationship between the reviewer and the author of the book (or the prospect of it)...
Forthcoming book chapter; In academic journal book reviewing, critical comments on the book under review (henceforth critical comments) can be considered potential face-threatening acts (FTAs). Given the especial interpersonal conflict potentially caused by assessing the work written by a peer in a public context, it may be wise for reviewers to mitigate their force. In the present paper we focus on a politeness strategy, i.e. giving reasons, which commonly serves reviewers to redress the force of the FTA potentially caused. We aim to provide insight into the extent to which scholars from different but comparable writing cultures justify their critical comments with supporting reasons, thus helping them to manage the potential interpersonal conflict created. Our empirical comparison is based on two comparable corpora of academic book reviews of literature, 20 written in Anglo-American English, and 20 in Castilian Spanish. The results show that, while reviewers in the two corpora offer a substantial amount of unjustified critical comments, these are proportionally more frequent in the Spanish corpus. Also, while the Anglo-American reviewers are more inclined to justify negative critical comments than positive ones, this tendency is opposite for the Castilian Spanish reviewers. A semi-structured e-mail questionnaire is piloted to see whether responses from reviewers to an open-ended question on these issues could reveal any explanatory information. Implications for English for Academic Purposes are drawn.; Peer reviewed
Pre-print version attached.-- Final full-text version available Open Access at the journal site through the link below.; The use of evaluation resources has proven to be an especially difficult area in English for Academic Purposes. Our aim is to propose a methodological framework for identifying recurrent differences in the use of evaluation resources in academic texts across English and other languages. We argue that for comparisons to be meaningful, studies of independent but comparable successful texts should contrast propositions that are similar in terms of their pragmatic or discourse function. We narrow the focus of the proposal down to the academic book review genre in one particular academic discipline and argue for the contrast of propositions functioning as critical acts on similar THINGS, the academic books under review. We reason that for fruitful comparisons it would be necessary to distinguish between evaluation resources occurring on the propositional, metadiscoursal and rhetorical planes. We discuss the types of evaluation resources that occur on these three planes in a corpus of 20 recent literary academic book reviews in English. We conclude that applying this framework to the quantitative analysis of comparable texts and propositions across languages would help to establish the extent to which the use of evaluation resources varies as a function of the language in a useful way.; Peer reviewed
12 pages, 1 figure, 2 tables.-- Available online Apr 14, 2008.; Since the 1990s cross-cultural studies of academic genres are becoming increasingly relevant. One genre that has recently attracted cross-cultural attention is the academic book review. The aim of the present paper is to provide insight into what is expected in terms of overall critical attitude towards the books under review when writing in this academic genre for international journals by comparison to what is conventional in journals of smaller discourse communities. Based on two comparable corpora of 20 academic book reviews of literature in English and 20 in peninsular Spanish, the study compares how much and what kind of critical attitude (positive vs. negative) is typically displayed by expert L1 writers of such texts. Critical attitude is defined in terms of 'critical acts', which are identified and measured in a way that takes the co-text and the context into account. The results show that the peninsular Spanish writers of literary academic book reviews are much less critical in general and show a much lower tendency to evaluate the book negatively than their Anglo-American counterparts. Results are discussed in the light of information provided by informants.; The present study is part of a research project financed by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science...