Guidelines: Book Reviews

Professional Book Review

Writing a book review is an important service, of an importance similar to that of peer reviewing manuscripts submitted for publication. A professional book review goes beyond simply summarizing the book’s content. Rather, it is a critical peer evaluation that can affect the way in which colleagues regard the book, influence others’ decisions to read the book, and therefore, ultimately, help determine its contribution to the field.

Recommended word length
Approximately 1000 words (not including references).

Review Elements

  • Provide full bibliographic details of the book. This should include: author, title, edition, publisher, place of publication, and year of publication.
  • Prepare a brief description of the contents of the book. This description may include:
    • The subject of the book and general body of psychological knowledge to which it belongs;
    • The thesis of the book (i.e., author(s)’ beliefs, philosophy, or propositions);
    • The intended audience;
    • The author(s) purpose in writing the book;
    • A brief definition of the book’s scope (i.e., does it provide a comprehensive overview or a detailed analysis of the subject matter?);
    • A brief description of the structure of the book, including a reference to the author(s) writing style (e.g., formal or informal, professional or non-professional), and if there are several authors, the way in which the various contributions are integrated;
    • A brief summary of the contents;
  • Include a brief description of the impact of the book:
    • Describe the author(s)’ authority (i.e., what particular credentials and expertise do they have to write about the subject?);
    • Does the author(s) display any particular point of view or biases?
    • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the book?
    • Is the subject matter of the book and author(s) writing style appropriate for the intended audience?
    • Did the author(s) achieve their stated objectives?
    • Does the book have any particular features (e.g., illustrations, references, subject index, case studies) and how effectively are these features used?
  • Does the book make a valuable and or unique contribution to the body of HAI knowledge? If in your judgment as reviewer it does, support your claim with evidence (e.g., examples from the book and or other suitable references). Similarly, evidence should be provided if in your assessment the book does not make a valuable contribution.
    • Final assessment of the book.
    • Do you recommend that your HAI colleagues buy this book? Would you buy this book?

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