Operando spectroelectrochemical analysis is used to determine the water oxidation reaction kinetics for hematite photoanodes prepared using four different synthetic procedures. While these photoanodes exhibit very different current/voltage performance, their underlying water oxidation kinetics are found to be almost invariant. Higher temperature thermal annealing was found to correlate with a shift in the photocurrent onset potential toward less positive potentials, assigned to a suppression of both back electron-hole recombination and of charge accumulation in intra-bandgap states, indicating these intra-bandgap states do not contribute directly to water oxidation.