Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Humanities and Social Inquiry


This thesis investigates the social practice of peer review of journal article submissions written in the fields of Linguistics, Educational Linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). Although peer review is now by and large the only screening process that assesses the quality of submissions, detailed knowledge about this practice and its generic conventions is largely restricted to particular communities located in the Global North. Current literature on peer review has described this practice through the conventions of ‘move analysis’, developed by Swales (1990). However, knowing the broad semantic/pragmatic functions that a genre moves through does not necessarily make visible how a unique instance of that genre can be constructed by specific linguistic resources. Thus, this thesis relies on Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) as a fine-grained linguistic theory and more specifically the ‘Sydney school’ approach to genre analysis (Martin & Rose, 2008) to identify the language features and the generic structure of ‘accept with revision’ peer review texts. This enables linguistic criteria for distinguishing the stage and phase boundaries to be established, which shows how text structure can be identified. Additionally, this thesis conducted semi-structured interviews with authors, reviewers and journal editors to triangulate the results of linguistic analysis and to make visible the ‘rules of the game’ that circulate among members and are largely hidden from those outside this community practice even though they may be impacted by such rules. The findings of this thesis carry important empirical and theoretical contributions to our knowledge about peer review and the theory of genre in SFL. By uncovering the unwritten rules of peer review and its structure, this thesis aims to challenge the unequal status of the scholars around the globe, especially those from the Global South and other early career researchers. It is hoped that this study can play a part in bridging the gap between what constitutes to be a ‘central’ and ‘periphery’ scholar, with the ultimate aim of removing such dichotomies from academia.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.