As a reviewer, your role is now, in part, an editor and an assistant writer. You want to think about the piece of writing as if you do not know where it is coming from, so think of it as an artifact. As you look at the artifact, think about how it stands on its own. That is how we review a draft. It must stand on its own and be a complete argument or statement. With that, go through the following list of questions and activities, and then be prepared to present your findings to the author. You will discuss strengths, weaknesses, and what is needed to complete the essay.
1. What is the essay about and what has been explored so far?
2. Read the draft of the paper, while you read the paper, think about the following points and make brief notes on his/her paper:
- Is there a clear thesis statement and does it drive the essay? What is that thesis statement?
- Are there any areas where the language is unclear, where a reader may not understand what is being presented, or where the argument becomes lost? Where?
- Are there any sections of the paper that do not connect back to the thesis (sections that only give evidence and do not provide the reader with a perspective on how to interpret that evidence)? Where?
3. Is the paper complete?
- What is needed to make the paper complete and come to a satisfactory conclusion?
- What are some areas that can be expanded on and may be necessary to make a complete argument?
4. Suggest two alternative titles:
5. Follow these overall guidelines: Be respectful. Only make suggestions. Do not focus on grammar issues, just point out where the language is unclear and possibly problematic. Try not to be too shy, too nice, or too mean.
LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW IF YOU TAUGHT THIS LESSON IN YOUR CLASSROOM. HOW DID IT GO? WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN? DID YOU MAKE ANY MODIFICATIONS?
I used this handout when we began doing peer review. I adapted it to make it specific to the assignment the class was working on. It was a useful handout to explain the process, and also as a guideline to complete the peer review. It was then used as a guideline for self-review of their own papers.
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