Arts and humanities research article reviewer checklist

Use this checklist when you’re reviewing arts and humanities research articles.

Begin your review with a first read-through for an overall understanding of the article by using the ‘first read-through’ checklist. Then proceed to a more detailed review with the ‘detailed review – art and humanities research articles’ checklist.

First read through

  • Is it clear what the authors want to communicate; can you understand the main aims and conclusions of the manuscript? 

  • Are you concerned about the phrasing, the language, or the presentation? Are revisions needed to make it possible to review? 

  • How much impact do you think the manuscript could have on how people think about this topic?  

  • How novel or innovative is the work – either methodologically, empirically or in terms of its theoretical contribution(s) to the field? 

  • Do you think the overall approach meets the standards of your field?

  • Do you think the authors’ overall conclusions are in line with the arguments, primary material, analysis and/or interpretations as presented?

Detailed review – Arts and humanities research articles

Please note that some of the points below may not apply to all articles. Take into consideration the field, as well as the focus and purpose.  


  • Does it express clearly what the manuscript is about? 

  • Does it contain the necessary keywords to make it “discoverable” by a reader in your field?

  • Does it contain any unnecessary description or jargon?  

  • Would it be clear to someone with language barriers?  


  • Is the abstract a short and clear summary of the aims, key arguments, research methods, novel contribution(s), and conclusions?  

  • Does it contain unnecessary information, jargon, or undefined acronyms?

  • Does it exaggerate or overstate the conclusions or their potential application/impact?


  • Does the introduction clearly summarize the current state of the topic? 

  • Does it address the limitations of current knowledge in this field?

  • Does it explain the manuscript’s contribution to the existing literature and the wider impact?

  • Does it define the aim of the manuscript and is this consistent throughout?

  • Is the topic and/or research question clear and appropriate?


  • Are the research design and methods appropriate for the research question?

  • Is there enough detail provided to allow a reader to repeat the methods or interventions if relevant?

  • Is it clear how the research data were collected and/or how participants were selected and recruited?

  • Is there any potential bias in the data collection or in the recruitment of participants?

  • Has the author reflected on their own social and political context in relation to their research design?

  • Do you have any concerns about the ethics of the work?


    • Do the authors summarize their overall conclusions? 

    • Do the results presented match the methods?

    • Have all the relevant supporting data been included?

    • Is there any risk of participants being identified?

    • Are the data described in the text consistent with the data in the figures, tables or other display items?

    Discussion and conclusion 

    • Do the authors logically explain their findings?

    • Do the authors compare their findings with current findings in the research field?

    • Are the implications of the findings for policy, society, or future research directions discussed?

    • Are the conclusions supported by the data and/or arguments as presented?

    • Are any limitations of the study discussed?

    • Are any contradictory data discussed?

        Tables, figures and primary material

        • Are data or other primary material, including images, quotations or excerpts from archival documents, or audio-visual material presented in a clear and appropriate manner?

        • Is the presentation of tables, figures and other primary material consistent with their description and interpretation in the text?

        • Do the figure legends, table headings and image captions clearly explain what is shown?

        • Do you have any concerns about inappropriate manipulation of data or other primary material?


        • Are there any key references missing?

        • Have authors engaged with relevant empirical and theoretical literature where suitable?

        • Have the authors cited grey literature, for example newspaper or magazine sources, in place of appropriate academic literature?

        • Are the cited studies an up-to-date representation of current knowledge?

        Method articles

        A method article describes an advancement or development of current methodological approaches. This includes new study methods, substantive modifications to existing methods, or innovative applications of existing methods to new research questions. For more information, see the page here.

        • Is the new method clearly described and is the description of the method sound? 

        • Are sufficient details provided to allow replication of the method development and its use by others? 

        • Is there a rationale for why the new method is needed?

        • Is the new method compared to existing approaches?

        • Is it clear to the reader how participants are selected and recruited when using this method (where relevant)?

        • Is there any potential bias in the data collection or in the recruitment of participants (where relevant)?

        • Has the author reflected on their own social and political context in relation to their research design?

        • Are there any concerns about the ethics of the method described?

        • Are the conclusions about the method and its performance adequately supported by the findings presented in the article?

        Data Notes

        Data notes are a short peer-reviewed article type that concisely describe research data stored in a repository. Data notes do not include any analysis or conclusions. For more information on what data notes are and what constitutes “research data”, see this page.

        • Is the rationale for creating the dataset(s) clearly described? 

        • Are data or other primary material presented in a clear and appropriate manner?

        • Is the presentation of tables, figures and other primary material consistent with their description and interpretation in the text?

        • Are the materials and methods for collecting and storing the data appropriate?

        • Where applicable, are sufficient details of methods and materials provided to allow replication by others? 

        • Are any limitations of the dataset(s) clearly described?

        • Is information on where and how to access the dataset included as part of a data availability statement?

        • Are the datasets clearly presented in a useable and accessible format?
          [Please consider whether dataset files are clearly described and labelled]

        Final checks – before you submit your report

        • Have you given a brief summary of the article as you understand it, and highlighted the key messages?  

        • Have you given positive/general feedback as well as constructive criticism?  

        • Have you made it clear which of your concerns are major (significant points, essential for publication) or minor (smaller issues, may not be essential for publication)? 

        • Are your concerns specific, with examples where possible? 

        • Have you numbered your comments and referred to page/ line numbers in the article to make it easy for the authors to address your points?  

        • Is your feedback constructive, and focused on the article content? 

        • If you were the authors, would you understand how to improve the manuscript?  

        • If you were the editor, would the comments be detailed enough to help you to make a decision? 

        • Have you checked the spelling and grammar in your report? 

        • Have you included your comments in the correct places in the online system – checking that any confidential comments for editors are in the right place – and have you answered all the questions?

        I still have questions

        Please read our extensive frequently asked questions section for answers to common questions on reviewing a manuscript.

        FAQs before review

        FAQs during review

        FAQs after submitting your report