Journal reviewers have pet peeves, and JPRR reviewers (God love 'em) have over the years been happy to share some of them with me. Here are some things I've noticed or reviewers told me on Twitter and Facebook that they just hate -- not bad methods or incorrect analyses, just annoyances that drive a reviewer nuts.
- Writing research questions when hypotheses could be posed -- if there's enough literature to take a stand, you better do it.
- Student samples -- more acceptable for experiments, perhaps, but reviewers will be happier if there's a reason you're using students beyond the fact that they're convenient.
- Outdated literature -- yes, you should cite classics; no, you shouldn't ignore everything that's been published in the past 5 years.
- In-press citations that aren't adequately blinded, or citing your own dissertation. Who else would know this stuff?
- Sweeping claims in the lit review that aren't backed up with citations -- I remember a recent one that said, "Scholars agree..." with only one scholar cited. Not kidding.
- A discussion section that "fizzles" -- come back to the theory you described so well in the lit review to tell us what it all means.
- Arguing far beyond the evidence -- whatever your data actually show is going to have to be good enough.
Any others you'd like to add? It's your chance to vent! Thanks to Tiffany Gallicano, Katie Place, and Richard Waters for their comments and suggestions, and to Tom Watson, who pointed to, "Meaningless results from quantitative research, which show the obvious." Runs a bit deeper than a pet peeve, but it's certainly a vent. :-)
Tiffany also suggested another post with authors' pet peeves about reviewers, which sounds fair to me. Tweet your suggestions to @karenrussell or send by email, russell dot uga at gmail.