Peer Reviews in Public Health Policy Research & Analysis

Instructor: Pooja Doshi

Pooja has taught college level courses in public health and has a master's degree in public health and policy

Peer review is the process of validating, qualifying, and screening the originality of articles in scholarly publishing. Peer reviewed research on key issues including occupational, mental and reproductive health, medicine and social policy, epidemiology, rehabilitation, obesity, family and social issues, quality of life and public health education and promotion is available on most open access platforms.


Peer review in public health policy research analysis plays a vital role in the field of healthcare. Without this process, many scholarly articles would not be presented for criticism and feedback, and therefore ultimate accuracy. For example, a student who has even graduated from Harvard University will have their works reviewed because one cannot simply assume that everyone who goes to Harvard is smart or cannot make a mistake. There is a certain method to the process and peer reviewing is key to this approach.

Developing an analytical approach for the peer review process is basically approaching a problem by breaking it into pieces. As each piece gets smaller, it becomes easier to solve. Putting the pieces together involves a certain understanding of the system and using an appropriate method of breaking down the process. For example, when analyzing a health policy, break down each word into its own definition and understand fully what the policy states. You may only need to change a few words rather than rewriting an entire policy. Even Harvard graduates can make errors when trying to write an explicit and clear policy.

Subject Matter

There are five main steps in conducting a peer review health policy analysis and providing a clear, constructive avenue for feedback:

1. The initial steps include reading the manuscript and any additional files associated and/or requesting any missing/ incomplete items as a reviewer you will need.

2. Confidentiality is expected of the peer review process and refraining from using information obtained during this process is strictly forbidden for personal research or gain. No other reviewer should be involved in this process, unless they have been designated to do so.

3. It is important to remain unbiased when considering the nature and theme of the manuscript. Often, a reviewer's personal opinions can interfere with this process, but it is important to keep matters neutral.

4.Suspicion of ethic violations is a important irregularity that many reviewers come across in public health analysis because with respect to research and concerns over a variety of studies, work is often duplicated. If you suspect that there is substantial similarity between the manuscript and another submission to another journal, etc., do not investigate on your own, but report it to the journal for which you are conducting the review for.

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