Peer review


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Please provide a peer review of the attached articles.

Guidelines for Offering Feedback

  • Be mindful of your tone as you respond to your peer’s writing : There’s certainly no need to go overboard with niceties, but consider integrating a couple of positive comments for things that seem to be working well, especially at the beginning of your comments. You might want to use language such as: “I like how you . . .” or “I’m impressed by. . . .” Essentially, think about ways to achieve something like the balance between being honest and congenial that you’d aim for if you were talking face – to – face. A tone that works particularly well is one that is both friendly and supportive.
  • Ask questions : Your job as a reviewer is not to fix the paper, but rather to help your classmate understand how the writing affects readers. Given this approach, it can be very helpful to ask questions, just as you might do if you were talking face – to – face. It will be helpful for the writer to reflect on these questions when making writing choices.
    • Questions about claims. You might ask, “What in the readings or evidence prompted you to develop this claim? Why are you interested in this aspect of the topic? How does the evidence support your claim? How many pieces of evidence do you have (and does the quantity of evidence say anything about the strength of that evidence)? Do you have additional evidence that isn’t included in this draft?”
    • Questions about evidence. If the writer needs more evidence, you might say that you would like to hear more about a particular point, that you didn’t understand a certain point, and/or that you have additional unanswered questions.
    • Questions about organization. If you think a certain paragraph doesn’t belong, you can describe your response as a reader; for example, “When I got to this paragraph, I wondered what it was doing here – it seemed like you had been talking about A, but all of a sudden, here’s this paragraph about B! Can you help your reader understand how this paragraph should fit in?” The student may need better transitions, or may have left out something important that will clarify matters, or he or she may see that the paragraph doesn’t really belong. But let the writer make those decisions – if you say, “Take that one out!” you are making the writing decision for her/him.
    • Questions about sentence structure. How might you help your classmate learn to revise a sentence without changing it? Make up a similar sentence and carry out your revisions on it, explaining what the problem is, what options there are for revising it, and why you selected the option you did. Offer several different options, not just one, so that the writer sees that he/she has many choices.
    • Questions about word choice. Ask why the writer chose the word; tell what the word means to you and why it seems odd to you in this context. You could say, for example, “In your opening paragraph, I wonder how you chose the word ‘bellicose.’ When I read this word, I think of someone who is aggressive and warlike; is that what you meant?”
  • Look for patterns: When addressing sentence – level issues, loo k for patterns of error, rather than going through the draft and pointing out errors in the order in which they occur. The same sort of big – picture reflection will be helpful with non – sentence – level issues, too. If you notice wordiness, see how often it occurs; if you see one transition that troubles you, check out the others. You can then try to offer the writer new ideas about this general issue, instead of just commenting on one sentence here and another one there.
  • Beware of taking over : Avoid the following, as easy and tempting as they may be:
    • Revising the writer’s thesis or claim
    • Presenting new evidence for the writer to include
    • Rewriting individual sentences
    • Telling the writer to use a different word (and suggesting what the new word should be)
    • Telling the writer to remove a paragraph or to move it to a specific place
  • Organize your comments: Consider outlining or clearly grouping your comments, realizing that a certain approach may work well in one instance, but not necessarily another. Here are some strategies:
    • Organize your comments by first addressing the writer’s concerns (in an orderly way) and then moving on to additional concerns you noticed.
    • Emphasize the more significant writing issues (such as how effective the claim is, how powerful the evidence) at the beginning of your feedback, and ending with more minor issues (word choice, spelling errors, etc.).
    • Make your comments chronologically: Make sure to note specific paragraphs or sentences where problems occur; for example, you could say, “In the second paragraph of page 3, you. . . .”
  • Consider your language choices: Because your classmate isn’t with you and you can’t see her/his reactions, be sure to write in a respectful and fairly neutral style. It’s important to avoid evaluative claims; instead of saying, “Your paper is really successful,” it would be more appropriate to say, “After seeing your presentation of the evidence, I was convinced of your argument.” Be especially careful about anything that might sound overly harsh, offensive, or patronizing.
  • Make your organization explicit: If you are responding in writing, consider simple visual strategies (bullet points, numbering, boldface, etc.) to keep your content clear and to emphasize your main points. If you are recording your comments, you may want to use language such as: “First I’ll make some suggestions related to your organization. Second, I will discuss ways you might make your claims more effective. Finally, since you asked about commas, I will point out a few places where you make the same error and include a link to a handout that should help.”
  • Know the limitations of this type of work : In the time you spend with this paper (roughly an hour), you may find that you could discuss a large number of different writing issues. Keep in mind, however, that your classmate may be overwhelmed (and dismayed) if presented with a list of fifteen things to look at or work on. Therefore, it is essential that you prioritize your comments. Use signals such as, “If you only had time to work on one thing, I think you could increase clarity the most by considering. . .” or “The three areas that gave me the most trouble as a reader were. . . .”
  • Emphasize the fact that you are just one reader: Keep in mind for yourself, and emphasize for the writer, that you are just one a reader; consider prefacing your comments with phrases such as, “As one reader. . . ” or “From my perspective. . . ” You are not offering the definitive summary of what does and does not work in the paper.

Components of your peer review:

Your peer review must contain the following sections. I recommend that you work on a word document, and once you are ready to submit your peer review, you can paste it on the comments section or you can upload the file as an attachment to the comment. Please see here how to submit a peer review on CanvasLinks to an external site.. You don’t have to fill out any rubric, just answer the questions below and post them as a comment or upload them as a document. Your answers should be long enough to provide the author enough information on how to improve the paper, you should follow the guidelines listed above. Your peer review must include the following sections:

  1. Summary: Start with the positive. Give a brief summary of what you liked about the paper and the things the author did well.If there are major issues with the paper, indicate those afterwards.
  2. Content & Development: Is the thesis clearly stated and well developed? Is the topic and depth of content appropriate for this audience (biology seniors)? Are the ideas well supported by evidence, is there enough support provided? Are there enough details provided or is the information vague? Does the introduction provide enough background about the topic and state why the topic is relevant? Do the conclusions summarize the main takeaway from the paper and how it relates to the bigger picture?
  3. Organization: Does the abstract follow the guidelines provided? Is the paper clearly focused and organized around a central theme with no digressions? Is there a clear progression in the topic for each section of the paper? Are the ideas within each section organized in a logical way that takes into account the background of the audience, usually starting with the most general ideas followed by more specific information?
  4. Language: Is the paper concise, free of words, sentences or paragraphs that don’t add new information? Is each sentence informative and communicates just one idea per sentence? Are the paragraphs well organized, with the main idea of the paragraph stated at the beginning and supported by the following sentences? There are no quotes and all the information has been paraphrased into the author’s own words?
  5. Conventions: Is every fact accompanied by a citation for the source? Is every source cited in the text fully referenced in the reference section? Does the format of the in-text citations and the reference section follow the reference guidelines? Is every reference listed in the reference section also cited in-text? Are the figures and tables cited in the text telling the reading when they are being referenced? Does each figure and table have a number, title and caption written in the author’s own words? Is every section heading labeled by a descriptive title?
  6. Conclusion: End your review with positive words for the author, encouraging them to take on the work that is left.

Please make sure that all of the components for the peer review are added! I attached the two papers that need to be peer reviewed. Thank you!

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