FORUM: Book Review Guidelines

Book Review Guidelines

The purpose of the FORUM, the undergraduate book review at Ashland University, is to encourage undergraduate students to publish reviews of various sources of media. These may include novels, non-fiction, books from class; books on any subject related to the arts and sciences curriculum are welcome (i.e. Art, Music, Journalism, Biology, Chemistry etc.). Reviews of podcasts, longer articles and theatrical scripts are permitted on a case by case basis. Please contact the editors if interested in reviewing one of these “non-traditional” media types.

By publishing with FORUM, students will gain experience writing reviews and they will develop the critical thinking skills that accompany such reviews. Writers submitting to FORUM must be undergraduate students at Ashland University, and may choose any of the approved media sources published within the last ten to fifteen years to review.

I. Content
We expect that reviews will have:
  • a brief summary of the book’s content and purpose; i.e. why the book was written
  • an assessment of the argument and the use of evidence; i.e. how does the book attempt to fulfill its purpose
  • analysis of the validity of facts and ideas, and the overall quality of the book itself, i.e. does the book fulfill its purpose, and if not, what problems did it have
  • original material that does not rely heavily on earlier reviews of the book
 We expect that reviews will not have:
  • ad hominem arguments
  • over-summarization
  • excessive quotation of any kind
  • attacks simply for being of a different opinion than your own - this includes attacks on earlier reviews
The average review should be around 600-800 words. Exceptions are permitted upon approval. Always try to structure the review so that the main overarching theme of the book is easily identifiable in the introduction, and then the more intricate details should be examined in light of this theme. A reader should not need to look past the introduction to get a good general view of what the book and its issues are. Any problems with the text should be noted after the argument has been made, and then a definite conclusion should be made about the book.

Please remember that all submitted reviews will be carefully read by a committee of editors and may be given back to the writer for revision, in accordance with high scholarly expectations.

II. Formatting 
Separate paragraphs with a line space. DO NOT indent.

DO NOT use footnotes. When citing a source, place a number in square brackets after the quote or paraphrase. Place the matching bracketed number at the bottom of the review text and enter the relevant information after the number, citing the document fully. For example: If, in the review, you quote the following words “Communism is the longest path from capitalism to capitalism.”[1] - At the end of the document cite the source according to a standard academic source format (e.g. MLA, APA, Chicago).

DO NOT use special characters, e.g. §.

Use three periods to create an ellipsis.

In the heading, please include Author, Title. City: press, year. ISBN for the book being reviewed. If an online source is used please provide a link to the article.

All reviews should be written in size 12 Times New Roman font with double spacing. A cover page is unnecessary.

Please include page numbers.
Please provide your name and email address.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact either of the editors:

Lauren Miller,
Lindsey Richey,