Manuscripts submitted for publication in JFSE can be quite different from traditional food science research articles and as such, should be evaluated following criteria more appropriate to these types of articles. The members of the Editorial Board offer the following as guidelines and rubric (see below) for reviewers to follow so that the reviews are consistent among the different JFSE content areas. The guidelines and rubric as well as suggestions for reviewers to consider have been compiled from several sources listed in the reference section at the end of this document.
As a reviewer, you will be providing a critical assessment to the Associate Editor as well as offer a typical reader's reaction to the manuscript. Evaluating the content of the manuscript is the reviewer's greatest responsibility, however, the reviewer should also take into account the presentation of the information as well. A critical review is rigorous but not hostile or demeaning. A good review also aids the author by providing constructive suggestions for improving the manuscript.
Quality guidelines of JFSE manuscripts components
Abstract: A good abstract (about 250 words) should provide the "essence" of the paper in a short and concise manner, should stand alone, and hopefully intrigue the reader to read the text that follows. It should outline the purpose of the paper, methods used, important results, and mention the most significant conclusions. The reviewer should provide feedback to the author by pointing out unneeded words or ideas. There should be a minimum of abbreviations, symbols, and acronyms but if they are used, it should be defined in the abstract.
Introduction: A good introduction in a JFSE manuscript can be organized in different ways but should include the following elements: 1) a summary of previous work; 2) a description of the objective(s) of the paper and a statement of its purpose; and 3) a brief outline of how the rest of the paper is organized. If a new method or idea is being presented or proposed, consider whether the background information is sufficient to make a case for the new information. There should be sufficient references cited to make a case for the proposed work.
Methodology: The authors should include a detailed description of the methods used so that readers can clearly follow what was done as well as be able to adapt the exercise or experiment to their own classroom or laboratory. This section should explain what was studied and how the procedures were used. The reviewer will evaluate whether the methods used appear to be reliable and adequate and suggest other methods when appropriate. The authors should cite references to previously established methods if it appears that any were used to develop the current protocol.
Results and Discussion: Consider whether or not the author used all the tools that were available and whether or not the approach was adequately explained or substantive reasons given. The discussion should include an interpretation of the observed results, an explanation of the relationships between the author's results and those of others, and whether the results support or contradict the findings of others. The authors should also explain gaps and limitations in the results obtained.
Conclusion (as a separate section or as the ending paragraph of the Results and Discussion): The conclusion should not be a mere summation of the results. It should mention the significance of the results, implications for food science teaching, or how the information would result in higher and deeper learning.
References: The author should be notified if relevant work was not listed, and similarly, if irrelevant work was cited. Not too many innovations in food science education are so unique such that there won't be anything in the literature about the topic. Make sure the author has sufficient literature citations to make a case for the information presented.
Title: After reviewing the content of the manuscript, confirm that the title is appropriate. If it is not, suggest possible alternatives. Help the author by suggesting they delete needless words (Investigations on …). Key words can make the title more precise.
It is important that JFSE reviewers act as a tactful and impartial ally of the author, looking for ways to improve the content and presentation of the manuscript. Acknowledge well established points and suggest new ideas. Do not make statements that question the integrity or competence of the author. Manuscripts should not be exploited; reviewers are asked to examine a manuscript only to solicit advice. Lastly, all submitted manuscripts are confidential. It is unethical to discuss, copy, cite an unpublished manuscript , or use the work in any way.
Documenting the review
The following are some guidelines for what and when to document comments: It is suggested that the reviewer 1) read the text critically for content and presentation, making appropriate comments keyed to the page and line numbers, and suggesting possible improvements to the writing; 2) determine if tables and graphs titles are understandable without having to refer to the main text; 3) judge whether the conclusion logically follows from the results and discussion; and 4) make a comment on whether or not the manuscript contributes to the advancement of food science education, or if not, why not.
Anonymous. Guidelines for reviewing Technical reports. http://cuadra.cr.usgs.gov/Techrpt/sta26.pdf. Accessed June 16, 2005.
Anonymous. Author guidelines. The International Electronic Journal of Health Education. http://www.aahperd.org/iejhe/template.cfm?template=about.html
Cannon, J.R. Guidelines for publishing in The Electronic Journal of Science Education (EJSE). http://unr.edu/homepage/jcannon/ejse/guide.htm. Accessed June 16, 2005.
James, W. 1996. Guidelines for reviewing manuscripts. http://www.soe.uoguelph.ca/webfiles/wjames/homepage/Research/ReviewGuide.html#HowToReview. Accessed June 16, 2005.
Mettetal, G., Isaacson, R., Kern, G. 2001. A Rubric for Research in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Jounal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2, No. 1.
This rubric offers guidelines for individuals for the peer-review of JFSE manuscript submissions. The rubric is organized according to the sections published in JFSE and a general listing of evaluative components commonly found in published papers. Not all evaluative components will be found in all the submitted manuscripts. Each reviewer is asked to examine his/her manuscript and determine whether or not a missing evaluative component is required, or could be incorporated in one of the other sections.
Section of manuscript: Abstract
Reviews: Provide the essence of the paper and should be able to stand alone.
Classroom techniques: Provide the essence of the paper and should be able to stand alone.
Innovative laboratory exercises: Provide the essence of the paper and should be able to stand alone.
Education Research: Provide the essence of the paper and should be able to stand alone.
Tips for better Learning: Provide the essence of the paper and should be able to stand alone.
Section of manuscript: Introduction and/or background
Reviews: Extensive literature review covering existing knowledge base
Classroom techniques: Provides background information on importance of topic, have a statement of purpose.
Innovative laboratory exercises: Provides background information on importance of experimental topic, have a statement of purpose.
Education Research: Relatively extensive literature review; statement of purpose
Tips for better Learning: Provides background information on importance of topic, have a statement of purpose.
Section of manuscript: Methodology
Reviews: Not applicable
Classroom techniques: Provides detailed information on how technique is used in the classroom.
Innovative laboratory exercises: Detailed explanation of methodology so experiment can be duplicated or adapted by others
Education Research: Qualitative or quantitative methodology or both; adequate sample size, and evaluation methods
Tips for better Learning: Provides detailed description of teaching tip and in what situations it might best be used.
Section of manuscript: Results
Reviews: Not applicable
Classroom techniques: Should have examples of results obtained by students, evaluation methods, and/or student feedback
Innovative laboratory exercises: Should have examples of results obtained by students, evaluation methods, and/or student feedback.
Education Research: Results should have statistical tests for validity or proven qualitative analysis
Tips for better Learning: Provides information on how tip was used in author's classroom, should have an evaluative component, and/or student feedback.
Section of manuscript: Discussion or explanation of information collected
Reviews: Points out trends, significant findings, or changes in direction
Classroom techniques: Discusses results obtained, assessment of learning and of the technique, possible modifications, unexpected findings, significance, and discussion of the evaluative component
Innovative laboratory exercises: Discusses results obtained, assessment of learning, precautions, possible modifications, unexpected findings, and practical significance. Should there be example questions for students at the end of the experiment?
Education Research: Discusses findings, mention limitations of study, implications for use by others, raise questions of findings
Tips for better Learning: Mentions significant findings.
Section of manuscript: Conclusion
Reviews: May or may not have a conclusion
Classroom techniques: Include significance of the exercise and potential impact and implications.
Innovative laboratory exercises: Includes significance of the experiment and potential impact and implications.
Education Research: Mention the significance of the research, implications.
Tips for better Learning: Should have a conclusion about the relevance of the tip.
Section of manuscript: References
Reviews: Should have as many as a research review paper
Classroom techniques: Sufficient number to justify technique
Innovative laboratory exercises: Sufficient number to justify exercise/experiment
Education Research: Should have as many as a traditional research article
Tips for better Learning: Should have sufficient number to authenticate/validate the tip.
Section of manuscript: Presentation of material
Reviews: Material should be presented in a clear and well organized manner
Classroom techniques: Material should be presented in a clear and well organized manner
Innovative laboratory exercises: Material should be presented in a clear and well organized manner
Education Research: Material should be presented in a clear and well organized manner
Tips for better Learning: Material should be presented in a clear and well organized manner