Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How to do peer review

What is peer review?

"As a peer reviewer, your job is not to provide answers. You raise questions; the writer makes the choices. You act as a mirror, showing the writer how the draft looks to you and pointing our areas which need attention." - Sharon Williams

How to provide helpful feedback

  • Read a draft all the way through before you begin to comment on it.
  • Give yourself enough time to read and respond.
  • Point out the strengths of the draft.
  • When discussing areas that need improvement, be nice. Offer appropriate, constructive comments from a reader's point of view.
  • Make comments text-specific, referring specifically to the writer's draft (NO "rubber stamps" such as "awkward" or "unclear" or "vague," which are too general to be helpful).
  • Avoid turning the writer's paper into YOUR paper. 
  • Don't overwhelm the writer with too much commentary. Stick to the major issues on the feedback form that are problematic.
  • Make sure your suggestions are reasonable (i.e., don't suggest that they totally rewrite the paper because you didn't agree with the author's point of view or didn’t like the topic).
  • If something appears too complicated to write in the commentary, just mention that you have something that you would like to talk to the writer about when you discuss the draft afterward.
  • Before giving your written comments to the author, reread your comments to make sure they are clear and make sense.

(found at http://mwp01.mwp.hawaii.edu/resources/peer_review.htm; accessed 11/2010)

What types of comments are constructive and helpful?

  • Be respectful and considerate of the writer's feelings.
  • Use "I" statements.
  • Offer suggestions, not commands.
  • Raise questions from a reader's point of view, points that may not have occurred to the writer.
  • Phrase comments clearly and carefully so that the writer can easily understand what needs to be improved.
  • Make sure comments are constructive and specific (not "This paper is confusing. It keeps saying the same things over and over again" but rather "It sounds like paragraph five makes the same point as paragraphs 2 and 3.").

(found at http://mwp01.mwp.hawaii.edu/resources/peer_review.htm; accessed 11/2010)

Form groups of three

Assign each member a letter (A, B, or C)

You have 25 mins to review and give comments on paper

In those 25 minutes, you should

  • Read one paper (A, B, or C - not all three!)
  • Write comments on the peer review sheet
  • Share your comments with the author

Here are the steps:

  1. Writer 1 gives each peer a copy of her paper (A gives her paper to B and C)
  2. Peer reads the paper twice: first time for content (ideas), second time for style and usage (grammar): approximately 4 mins
  3. Peers write comments on peer review sheet: approximately 2 mins
  4. Peers review comments before sharing them (ensure they are logical, relevant, and easy to understand): approximately 1 min
  5. Peers share comments with writers verbally one-by-one, then give writer their written comments: approximately 8 mins
  6. Writer processes comments by asking peer for clarification and further advice on how to improve her paper: approximately 5 mins 


Peer review lesson plan

• Print and bring four printed copies of your paper to our May 2 class
• You will exchange papers with your peers from different academic disciplines
• You will fill out the form below


The goals of peer review are 1) to help improve your classmate's paper by pointing out strengths and weaknesses that may not be apparent to the author, and 2) to help improve editing skills.
Read the paper(s) assigned to you twice, once to get an overview of the paper, and a second time to provide constructive criticism for the author to use when revising his/her paper. Answer the questions below. 
1. Were the introduction, body paragraph, and conclusion adequate? If not, what is missing?

2. Was the material ordered in a way that was logical, clear, and easy to follow? Why or why not? Explain with details.

3. Did the writer adequately summarize and discuss the topic? Why or why not? Explain with details.

4. Did the writer merely summarize existing data or publications?  

5. Are the words specific and accurate? Does the writer use strong action verbs whenever possible? Are the adjectives as descriptive as possible? Are the nouns specific, not general? Why or why not? Explain with details.

6. Were there grammatical or spelling problems? Did the writer use active and passive voice appropriately?

7. Was the writer’s writing style clear, appealing, and full of energy? Why or why not? Explain with details.