Peer Review

The purpose of peer review in a composition class is to give your classmates feedback on their arguments, ideas, and expression so that they can revise and improve their essay.

You’ll provide feedback by inserting comments directly into your classmates’ Google Docs and by writing an end-comment summarizing your advice.

Writers need feedback at two levels: the global level and the local level.

Global feedback focuses on the quality of the ideas, evidence, and arguments made and how well the paper is organized. Changes made in one part of the paper tend to require changes made in other parts of the paper.

Local feedback focuses on paragraph and sentence-level issues that may limit the development of a writer’s ideas or impede the reader’s ability to understand the writer.

Consult the peer review rubric and the sample comment below for helpful information that can guide you as you provide global and local feedback to your classmates.

A good comment will:

  • Be generous and considerate in tone;
  • Describe what you see or think as a reader, leading to a diagnosis of a problem or description of an improvement to be made;
  • Suggest a specific strategy for improvement;
  • Provide additional insight by: asking leading questions, providing  further detail, suggesting specific materials for inclusion, or engaging in dialogue with the writer.
  • Indicate whether this is a high-, medium-, or low-priority issue.

Though written under slightly different guidelines, this student-written comment is good example of what I’m looking for:

Click to enlarge

In an end comment, write some sentences that give the writer an idea of your overall impression or general effect of the paper.  If you can, explain the central insight you have gotten from the paper as a careful reader.  Make suggestions about what improvements the writer should prioritize as s/he continues to develop his or her paper’s argument in global revision.