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Techniques for Peer Evaluations

There is no single "right" way to carry out an evaluation. For example, you might tell a peer reviewer, "I'm really concerned about my use of authoritative support. Will you look especially closely at my use of paraphrases, quotations, and other types of supporting evidence?" A peer evaluation can be tailored to the needs of the moment.

A useful peer evaluation doesn't even necessarily require an evaluator who has a strong grasp of such English skills as traditional grammar or rhetoric. One simple but effective technique is to ask a collaborator to read your paper aloud in your presence while you follow along by reading another copy. In your copy, make marginal notes alongside all the passages in which your collaborator's reading seems to falter. Occasionally, you may hear your reader put the wrong emphasis in a passage or restart a phrase or sentence. Some of these stumbles may simply be random reader's errors. But often a spot where a reader falters is a spot that needs correcting. Perhaps faulty punctuation misled your reader; perhaps awkward phrasing made the sentence hard to read aloud. At this stage, don't worry about editing the potentially faulty passages. Just mark them for future reference. Later you can analyze them carefully and edit them.

I usually have my students do some written comments on each other's papers, along with some face-to-face discussion. That way, written comments let me get a general impression of how the evaluation process went, while the oral discussion lets the evaluators tackle problems that might be difficult to handle without the give-and-take of actual conversation. (Incidentally, as a teacher I never look at the peer evaluations until I've done my own evaluation of a draft. I may write "disagree" or "agree" alongside a peer reviewer's comments, just so that the writer knows where the instructor stands.)

Here are some suggested questions for revising (rough drafts) and editing (preliminary drafts).

Go To:

Revision Questions for Peer Collaborators

Editing Questions for Peer Collaborators

Some "Do's" and "Don't's" of Peer Evaluations

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