peer review 141


Read a draft all the way through before you begin to comment on it.

Give yourself enough time to read and respond.

If something on the feedback form is unclear, ask the instructor.

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).

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).

Before giving your written comments to the author, reread your comments to make sure they are clear and make sense.

“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 out areas which need attention.” – Sharon Williams


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.”).

Avoid turning the writer’s paper into YOUR paper.

Final tip: Although it might not be on the feedback form, you can always ask the writer if there is something he or she wants you to comment specifically on in the paper.

After receiving feedback, please do the following:

In your group, summarize the feedback you received and discuss the changes you plan to make in your upcoming revision.

Final draft of Report 1 is due in one week. Submit a cover memo along with your finished writing explaining how you revised in response to the reviews you received.

Peer Review for Report 1

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 authors, and 2) to help improve editing skills.


In the Discussion Thread, read the paper assigned to you twice, once to get an overview of the paper, and a second time to provide constructive criticism for the authors to use when revising their paper. Then in your reply answer the questions below. Copy and paste these questions into another document to write your answers, then copy and paste into the Discussion Thread.


Is the information arranged (indentations and bulleting) and basic sections adequate (Title page, Executive Summary, Table of contents, List of figures, Voice of the customer, Problem identification, Conclusion/Next steps, References) in a way that makes it easy to skim and still get central information? If not, what is missing?

Grammar and Style

Does the paper use a professional tone that is formal and instructive?

Were there any grammatical or spelling problems?


Is the content of each paragraph appropriate for each section?

Do you understand what their customer needs by reading their paper?

Does the paper avoid vagueness by stating specific details?

Do they use the right amount of graphics? Are they good quality?

Is there evidence they have done research?

Are the next steps clear?


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