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Peer Review

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Peer Review

by John W. Norton, P.E., B.C.E.E.

When studies are done they gain credibility by having "Peer Review". This means simply that the study results have been review by the author's peers, those with interest in the study subject and experience with which to evaluate the findings.

In the peer review process, the study results are usually presented in the form of a professional paper at a meeting (a professional conference of some sort) where people interested in the subject area are encouraged to question and comment on the findings and techniques used to make the conclusions published in the paper. The author is supposed to answer the questions and comments. This obviously strengthens the paper, although, as an author, I can tell you that the process is quite intimidating.

The professional conference managers encourage such review and comment. The managers may have arranged before the meeting to have peers on hand when the paper is presented for live questioning. Or they may even have had the paper reviewed before the meeting so that questions with more depth can be presented to the author at the presentation of the paper.

Not all peer review comments are negative, often the peer reviewer may state that the author and the paper have