Peer Review: Offer Perspectives, Not Directives

Remember that in peer review,  you don’t need to cast judgment on a classmate’s work.You don’t need to offer suggestions or act as a coach. You don’t need to correct things.

In peer review, your job is to act as a reader and to communicate your reading experience to the writer. Be honest, be accurate, be detailed. Be descriptive. Write in such a way that you offer your genuine readerly perspective to your partner, not a list of directions or directives.

Helpful Peer Review Phrases

Try to offer several statements from each category

To offer observations of assignment goals met

  1. I see your thesis at the end of your intro paragraph
  2. I see transition phrases at the beginning of each new paragraph
  3. I can see that you ___________,  which is a goal of this paper
  4. I do not see a Works Cited

To express places where you struggled as a reader

  1. In your ________ paragraph I see….but I do not see….
  2. My understanding is that the thesis of this paper should _______. I did not clearly see ______ in your thesis. Instead, I see (explain).
  3. I was confused by this sentence (share the sentence) and I took it to mean (explain how you read that sentence).
  4. In paragraph ______ I thought that, based on what you said in the first sentence, the whole paragraph would discuss X. But it looks to me like at the end of the paragraph, you begin discussing Y, which felt to me like a new and different idea.

To express places where, as a reader, you were drawn in to the writing

  1. I thought that the second paragraph was really clear and interesting because….
  2. I like the way that you structured paragraph X because ….
  3. I appreciate your use of (signal phrases? citations? MLA format? transitions? etc) because I have been struggling with that in my own writing. Thanks for the example .

Here is a list of phrases that can be ineffective.

These types of phrases are telling the writer what to do and/or simply offering judgment. They are “you” statements, not “I” statements. Try to avoid these types of peer assessment phrases:

  • You should
  • The assignment says to _____ but you didn’t do that
  • You need more____
  • You need less_____
  • To make the paper better, you need to____

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