Reviewing technical documents? Whether for class, a journal or an industry publication, the procedure to writing a review is fundamentally similar and we’ve discussed them in this blog several times before (you can do a search if you’re interested). Yes, written ones are best done with a review writing software too, as we’ve harped on countless times in the past.
I like to classify reviews for technical material in three types: internal, friendly and anonymous. All three share similarities, although their nature compel them to show several distinct characteristics.
Internal reviews, as the name suggest, are examinations of the work conducted within the organization it is coming from. For instance, before a research facility allows submission of one of their wards’ work to an industry journal, it is very likely that it will undergo scrutiny within the organization itself. You don’t want to put your name behind a piece of writing whose quality isn’t representative of what you’d like to be known for, after all. These reviews can range from a single personnel writing an assessment of the work to be submitted to higher-ups to an extremely rigorous inspection by a panel.
Friendly reviews refer to solicited critiques, such as the case when an author sends his work to peers (like you) to tap into their comments before moving forward with trying to get it published. Personally, I suggest being as harsh as you would with an anonymous review; that kind of sincerity is rare in friendly reviews and will probably help your “friends” more than being extremely tactful can ever hope to do.
Anonymous reviews are the type you read in industry journals and are solicited by editors specifically for publication. If you’re going to write one, the focus should be on the material, rather than on other things surrounding it, such as the author’s personality.