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Peer review checklist

Updated on January 21, 2021

Follow best practices for peer reviewing technical documentation content.

When peer reviewing, think about these basic questions:

  • Who are the readers?
  • What do we want them to know?
  • When do they need this information?
  • Why do they need this information?
  • What task does this information support?
  • Where or how do they use this information?
  • Is the information complete? Useful? Clearly written?

Additionally, analyze the content of a topic or article that you review in terms of the following fundamental principles of technical writing:

  • Does the title reflect the content type?
  • Does the short description expand on the title to briefly summarize the topic?
  • Does the short description follow our guidelines: 35-50 words in length and ends with a period? For more information, see Short descriptions.
  • Is the topic or article short and to the point?
  • Is the content flow logical and varied in structure?
  • Does the writer use simple constructions? For example, several instead of a number of, or if instead of in the event that?
  • Is Simple Present tense in use, instead of continuous, future, or perfect tenses?
  • Are verbs in the active voice?
  • Are steps and recommendations described in the imperative verb form?
  • Are optional steps correctly tagged with the optional attribute?
  • Is the reader addressed in the second person singular "you"?
  • Do steps start with the place, purpose, or condition first?
  • Do list items start with parallel structures?
  • Is jargon avoided?
  • Are there no false subjects?
  • Is the content technically accurate?

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