The purpose of the Reviews section in the English Australia Journal is to provide practical, professional reviews of recent ELT-related releases, in order to help readers decide if the publications would be of value in their own context; readers are ELT practitioners, trainers, managers or university educators, in Australia and overseas. We aim to review a broad range of materials, including ELT coursebooks, student and teacher resource books, teacher reference books and academic texts, as well as digital and online products (e-books, apps, websites, platforms, and so on).
Becoming a reviewer
As a first step, would-be reviewers should contact the Reviews Editor Richard Ingold, email@example.com, and have their details added to the Reviewer Database. The Reviews Editor will need to know the following:
• class types taught
• areas of specialty/interest
• contact details (mailing address, e-mail and contact telephone number).
The Reviews Editor regularly compiles a list of resources for review, and will get in touch when a particular resource matches a reviewer’s interests and experience. Reviewers are welcome to make suggestions if there is something particular they would like to review, but please note that unsolicited reviews cannot be accepted.
Reviewers receive the material for review directly to the address they have provided. The reviewed resource is theirs to keep (unless they withdraw), and they will also receive a complimentary copy of the journal issue in which their review appears.
Length, tone and structure of reviews
Reviews should be between 700 and 1000 words depending on the complexity of the materials, and written in a semi-formal, easy-to-read style. The general tone expected is that of friendly advice from one ELT professional to another.
Reviews tend to follow a typical structure, but of course every reviewer brings their own opinions, experiences and writing style to the piece. The general outline is as follows:
Include on separate lines: main title, subtitle, author(s), publisher and year of publication, Reviewed by [reviewer’s name].
- A general lead-in, e.g. what is the aim/focus; who is the target audience; is it part of a series?
- It may be appropriate to start with some discussion of the wider issue/context, and reviewers may wish to bring in their own experience of/reactions to the topic.
- It may be appropriate to situate the resource within the existing ELT literature, e.g. do other well-known books address this area; is it innovative or unique in any way?
Critical review of the content
- Describe and evaluate the content. Do not be afraid to use ‘I’. Evaluation is essential, e.g. how well does the resource do what it claims to do; are there any weaknesses or omissions; which aspects are particularly useful (or not); is it readable / user-friendly?
- Negative opinions are valid but the review as a whole should be professional and balanced.
- For multiple-item resources, ensure all relevant elements have been included (e.g. student’s book, teacher’s book, workbook, website, etc.)
Summarise the overall value succinctly; if appropriate, specify the particular ELT professionals or contexts the publication is best suited to.
A third-person bio of approximately 30-50 words, including name, position/institution, experience/current research or interest, preferred e-mail address for professional contact, and professional Twitter handle if desired. Please note that it is not English Australia Journal style to include qualifications in biodata.
Reviews should be submitted as Word documents, using single spacing after full stops and Australian spelling.
Style and referencing
Quotations or paraphrases based on specific parts of a publication must include page references. It is acceptable to refer to sources other than the review material but this is not usually necessary and it is preferable to focus on the text under review. However, any works cited, paraphrased or otherwise mentioned in your review must include page references where required and appear in a reference list at the end.
The English Australia Journal uses APA Style for referencing; APA guides can be easily found online, for example, see here. However, there are some differences in APA for Australian English, and there may also be some areas, such as layout of titles and captions, capitalisation and hyphenation, which follow the specific Style Guide of the English Australia Journal. Please refer to the Style Guide for more information.
Deadlines are negotiable, but are generally set at 8-12 weeks from receipt of material, depending on the complexity of the materials. If a review cannot be completed by the agreed deadline, the reviewer must contact the Reviews Editor as soon as possible to discuss either extending the deadline or returning the materials.
After the first draft has been submitted, the Reviews Editor is likely to return with a few questions and/or suggestions for structure and content. The revised version is then edited, primarily for style and length, and changes are agreed with the reviewer. Please note that there may be further changes at the copyediting and proofreading stages, but these are usually minor.
Reviews are published twice-yearly (April and September) in the Reviews section of the English Australia Journal. The review will also appear on the English Australia website when the issue goes online. Reviews or excerpts may also appear on publishers’ websites or promotional materials.
Please note that if a review is significantly late, or inadequately/inappropriately evaluates the material, it cannot be published. English Australia reserves the right to reject such reviews or withdraw them from publication. Accepted reviews are the property of the English Australia Journal but may be republished with permission.
Please feel free to contact the Reviews Editor with any further questions or concerns.
English Australia Journal