Once every few months, the most gut-wrenching part of being employed takes place. The Performance Review, also called Employee Appraisal, happens. It can both be an unavoidable start of a humiliating pitfall, or it could be that feather that breaks the camel's back (depending if the camel you've been riding is one of a pile of failed reviews) or, in some cases, the start of a better and clearer career. These potential outcomes are expected, as always, to be fair and just assumptions of an employee's contribution to the company and adherence to its guidelines. It is also expected to be concise and, well, fair.
Hence what happens when you get, what you feel, is an unjust review? First you have to keep in mind what it's for and how it "says" these things. A performance review treads terms of quality, quantity, cost and time. This is how it "says" how well or not you've been. What it says is how you've dealt with these same terms.
As intimidating as it looks to question these figures because of the imposing terms and graphs used, it is that same factor that makes it easy to deal with. It speaks in a language that cannot lie on its own - numbers. Numbers in essence don't need flowery or derogatory words prefixing it. It translates facts into readable exact data that should be processed as is.
Keeping that in mind, we can start to dismantle its supposed effectiveness.
Being aware of your own performance helps a lot. Try to gather as many supporting evidence that counters the allegations made on the report (i.e. time cards, receipts, important contracts or papers, even phone bills). If you have these, they will greatly help in your chances in being accurate and likewise, seen as a critical employee that has surely studied his self first and hence lessen the feeling of the superior that he is simply "wasting his time".
Be in top form. Be courteous, come in with you're A-game on. Do not even think of going in there to raise hell. However, don't make the mistake of coming in as the office person that you're not. In some cases it helps to show your real attitude in hopes of winning over sympathy.
Once the decision has been made, deal with it. Whether it goes your way or not, you have no choice but to go with their answer. (Remember that, until you complained about the review, that was already a decision made, be thankful that you were actually given the opportunity to contradict it).