Peer Review

Most academic and professional writers don’t write in a vacuum: they share their work with their peers, they get feedback from their editors and supervisors, and they revise their work based on the response they get. Today in class you are going to share your article with at least two other people in order to get their feedback and suggestions for revision.

Getting good suggestions from your peers isn’t always easy. So for this and other peer review exercises in this class, we are going to use peer review questions to prompt our readers to give us the feedback that is most useful to us. The key to this is asking your reader open-ended questions about your writing. Instead of asking a question that can be answered simply with a “yes” or a “no,” such as “Is my introduction effective?” or “Is my organization good?,” ask questions that demand a more involved reply on behalf of your reader: “What problems do you see with the organization?” or “What would make my introduction a more effective attention-getter?”

Peer review is about finding and identifying points that need revision, it’s not about resolving them. Although as a reader you can suggest possible revision strategies (and I encourage that), remember that it is ultimately up to the writer to figure out how to revise—you should feel free to point out problems that you yourself don’t know how to solve. Similarly, as you receive suggestions from your peers on your own writing, it is up to you to determine whether the suggestions are valid and whether you will follow up on them.

Although I expect you read each other’s work critically and respond to it thoughtfully, remember to always be respectful and polite.

The “default” questions: