General Instructions on Peer Review

For courses that require a peer review of the final paper draft: You will submit a draft and also peer review a draft. I will score the peer review on a four-point system and will share this score with both the original author and the peer reviewer to provide an indicator of the usefulness of the peer review as well as evaluation.

You will be assigned peer review partners. Upon receiving your peer review assignment, save your draft as a MS Word document, with the tracking feature "on", and then send your paper as an email attachment to your partner. If you cannot send it as an MS Word document, then that is all right.

General Instructions

Peer Reviewers

You will make comments on your peer review partner's draft using the "tracking" and "comment" commands in MS Word. If you do not use MS Word, or if you cannot figure out how to use these features, then you can print out a copy of the draft and make your comments by hand.

ELECTRONIC COMMENTS: Send draft with comments back to original author and to Mark Unno.


The peer reviewer should sign her or his name at the end of the paper. Once you have made your comments, make a copy of the marked up draft. Return the original to the author, and turn in the copy to the instructor by placing it in the envelope on my office door, PLC 812.

Copies should be made darkly enough so that I can read the comments.

If necessary, reduce the copy size so that all of your comments will appear on the photocopy.

Draft submitters

Drafts should cover items from the Checklist for Papers. (Your final draft should also cover the Paper Writing Guidelines.)


Grammar and Syntax

You can make specific comments on grammar and style. In general, it is enough to make comments on these areas on the first page or two of the draft. It can be overwhelming to receive comments on these areas for the entire length of the draft, and it usually is sufficient to give an overall sense of the prose to limit the extent of your comments. 


Style and Content

You may make comments in the body of the paper, but there should also be some general comments regarding the draft at the end or on a separate page. This may be a few sentences to a couple of paragraphs long.

Some of you may use a reference system, marking points to comment on with letters of the alphabet and providing the actual comments on a separate sheet. This is particularly effective when the comments are long or if your are making comments by hand, and your handwriting is not clear.

There should be a balance of critique and appreciation in your overall reflections.


Common errors to look for that are not covered in the Checklist for Papers:

1. Don't mix "one" and "they" (Incorrect usage: One should be careful to observe their surroundings. Correct usage: One should be careful to observe one's surroundings.)

2. Usually, it is not necessary to precede a direct quotation with "He states,". Rather, simply end the previous sentence with a semi-colon to indicate that it is related to the quoted passage to follow. Use your own good judgment on this point.

3. Often "human beings" or "people" is a better choice than "humans."

4. Titles of books and foreign words should be italicized.

5. Use Arabic (1, 2, 3, . . . ) rather than Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, . . .) for page numbers, footnotes/endnotes.

6. Avoid the use of contractions (e.g. "I've" "can't").

7. Do not separate a verb phrase that begins with "but" with a comma (Incorrect usage: He wanted to go to the store, but decided not to. Correct usage: He wanted to go to the store but decided not to.)

8. When referring to culture or geographical region, "West" and "Western" are capitalized.


Evaluation of Peer Review (This is how I will score your peer review comments.)

Comments on grammar/style in body of paper: 1 point

Comments on content/ideas in body of paper: 1 point

Appreciative remarks at end of paper: 1 point

Constructive criticisms at end of paper: 1 point


Total 4 points


This is an exercise that shouldn't take more than a couple of hours. You should be as thorough as possible, but if you see many areas to comment on, you don't need to cover everything. You can provide a substantial yet moderate amount of remarks, and that should be helpful to the author.