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6 Things you’ll learn from Peer Reviewing a Doctoral Thesis

Peer Reviewing a Doctoral Thesis
Susan Wray
July 08, 2022

If you’re a PhD student or an aspiring academic, chances are that you will have to go through the process of peer-reviewing a thesis at some stage during your career. Peer reviewing is one of the most frequently done professional services by academic institution members and their graduate students. Peer reviewing a thesis is something I’ve had to do for the past two years. Having to work my way through multiple chapters of research, analysing and judging their content, relevance and presentation can be a daunting task.

It forces you to think critically and try and get a better understanding of research practices, the wider academic world beyond your own discipline and the trajectory of research in the future. This can present a challenge when faced with pages upon pages of terminology, complex findings and new concepts that you’re not familiar with.

Peer review:

Peer review is a system which assesses the quality, validity and sometimes originality of some work of students for publications. The ultimate aim of this system is to maintain the integrity of academic work properly. It filters out poor quality on invalid academic work. This system checks whether a thesis is worthy of publishing or not. Independent researchers submit their work to check the validity of the work and determine if this work should be published in a journal or not. From the perspectives of publishers, peer review operates as a filter focusing on giving quality content to journals for publishing. It helps to maintain the brand reputation of a journal.

Things you will learn:

Improves writing:

Writing a doctoral thesis can be very complex. You have to use complicated terms and phrases. Peer reviewing a doctoral thesis can help you improve your vocabulary and writing skills. It can help you to invest more in writing according to your field. You can understand the differences and similarities between your writing style and others’ writing styles. Peer reviewing a doctoral thesis can help you to polish your academic writing and critical evaluation skills. It will also help you improve self-reflexivity and bolster creativity and critical thinking. Students can become good writers and thinkers if they learn to evaluate their values, engagements and work. This way, students can learn to write better by reviewing the thesis work of others. They can learn new writing styles and important terms for their own academic writing tasks.

Collaboration opportunities:

Collaboration is very important for a medical student. It can help him to learn from the experience of others. Learning through collaboration develops better-thinking skills among medical students. It can help them to improve self-esteem and confidence. Peer reviewing a doctoral thesis can help make the whole writing process collaborative. Peer review can give medical students various opportunities to learn from others. This way, you can think critically about the role of others through peer-reviewing. This shows that students can learn to be team players, which is important in the medical field.

Helps in anxiety:

Medical students can become very anxious and nervous while writing a doctoral thesis. In a doctoral thesis, the goal of the thesis is clear. They know what they want to achieve in their thesis. The most important thing they need to do is to focus on their goals instead of getting distracted by grammar or other things that usually make them anxious. With doctoral thesis help, you can deal with this issue. You learn to understand the little mistakes you can make through the process. Even if you are a very good writer, you can still get an advantage from peer-reviewing. Many medical students reported that they learn more by articulating and identifying weaknesses in the papers of their peers (Lee et al., 2013). It is because they can incorporate peers’ feedback into their thesis.

Increase learning:

Peer reviewing a doctoral thesis can help you to increase your knowledge about your field. You can get a lot of new information by reviewing the papers of others. By reviewing the papers of others, students can learn the important models of disciplinary writings. However, medical students learn the art of writing in school, usually in high school. From there, they consider that descriptive writing as good writing. From peer reviewing, you can learn to write critically. Peer reviewing a paper can allow you to learn and explore writing according to your discipline. This shows that peer reviewing is a great learning strategy for students to learn about their field.

Clarify medical concepts:

There are many concepts in medical fields that are very complicated. Sometimes, students find it difficult to understand them properly on their own. Studying the work of others can greatly help you in this regard. Peer reviewing a doctoral thesis is a great way to clarify complex medical concepts. It allows you to get clarification of your own ideas as you have to study your classmates’ work and raise questions about their writing. Also, you can ask your classmates about the things you don’t understand in their writings. This way, your ideas and concepts about certain will get more clarification. This shows that peer review can be helpful at all stages of your degree. If you want in-depth knowledge of something, peer-reviewing is the best option.

Gives professional experience:

As a medical student, having a good professional experience is important. A professional experience can give you opportunities to explore various career options. It can also help you to improve self-confidence, independence, maturity and self-understanding. It will increase your motivation to study more in your field. Peer reviewing a doctoral thesis can allow you to have professional experience by reviewing the writing of others. This is a process used by professionals for publishing. This is how professional people in your field get feedback on their work. This will give you a skill for practical application.


I hope that this will inspire some of you to take the plunge and try reviewing someone else’s work. I’m sure it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it in the long run. The experiences from reviewing my first dissertation will stay with me for a long time, and it’s been an amazing learning experience. Next time you want to write on something new or are stuck on a tricky issue, just remember all the knowledge you’ve acquired from reviewing other people’s work. It might even help come up with a solution as well!


Lee, C.J., Sugimoto, C.R., Zhang, G. and Cronin, B., 2013. Bias in peer review. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 64(1), pp.2-17.

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