Peer review

Student Guidelines for Peer Review: Psychology

Professor Colleen Moore, Psychology Department, UW-Madison
Notice that in this peer-review process, reviewers first outline their peer's draft (to help the author see how readers understand its organization) and then offer advice for strengthening the paper.

Psychology 411


Peer Review Instructions

Read the paper, and comment on the draft. Note what isn’t clear, what sentences are awkward, etc.


1. Write an outline (sometimes it helps to number the paragraphs when you do this).


Student Guidelines for Peer Review: History and Jewish Studies

Professor David Sorkin, History and Jewish Studies, UW-Madison
In this carefully designed peer-review process, students do their reviews in class, reading their drafts out loud in a small review group.  Notice how the professor asks students  to offer responses rather than judgments.  And notice that when students submit their revised papers to the professor, they need to include a reflection on what they found helpful in the peer-review process and how they used the feedback as they revised.

Instructions: Please read this sheet carefully in order to know how you are to help your peers.


Bring 3 copies of your paper to class.


Student Guidelines for Peer Review: Intermediate Composition

Janelle Schwartz, English Department, UW-Madison
Especially in introductory and intermediate courses, students do more effective peer reviews when instructors give them explicit guidelines for what to focus on when they read and comment on a draft.  One of the key goals here is to help students internalize these expectations for their own papers.

This is to give you an idea of the type of things you should be looking for and accomplishing in both your own paper and that of your peer(s). Use what follows as a kind of checklist for determining what is working effectively in a paper and what is not.



Student Guidelines for Peer Review: Art Issues Research Paper

Jo Ortel, Art Department, UW-Madison
Here's a sample of guiidlines distributed to students doing peer reviews in a writing-intensive art course.

Art 236


Answer all the following questions for each paper. Write on a separate sheet, not on the draft itself. Include your name and phone number (or e-mail address) on your evaluation. Don’t worry about “surface errors” (spelling, punctuation, etc.); let the author do her own proofreading. Your job is to spot more important problems.


Putting Together Peer Review Groups

Most instructors agree that it pays off to put some thought into grouping students for peer review.  There's no magic number of students per group, but most instructors make groups of three or four students--large enough to have some variety in the feedback but small enough so that no one student has too many drafts to read and critique.  Here's some advice about setting up groups, writtten for instructors in English 100, a first-year writing course.

There's little consensus among instructors as to what kind of student combinations make for the best peer workshop groups. Some instructors have found it helpful not to place two or more men and one woman in a group, or one student of color in an all‑white group.

How DO You Make Peer Review Work?

Kirsten Jamsen, WAC Program, UW-Madison
Having students review and offer feedback each other's drafts can be an effective way to stretch out the writing process and to help students learn to read their own work more critically.  But making peer review work well requires planning.  Here's some excellent advice for getting started.

After many semesters using peer review in my own composition classes and helping colleagues in Geography, Women’s Studies, Political Science, Slavic, and Art use peer review successfully in their classes, I have several specific suggestions for instructors trying peer review for the first time or refining their own methods of using peer review.

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