Tips for Effective Peer Response

Peer response, done well, can greatly improve the quality of your writing in your final draft. Many people confuse peer response with editing or proofreading. Peer response is not just proofreading--in fact, proofreading is only one small part of the peer response (and for some projects proofreading doesn’t come into play at all). Peer response is the process of responding to writing at macro and micro levels and in ways that offer helpful, constructive feedback.

General Tips For Both Writers and Responders

As a peer, you are a well-qualified person to read and respond to your peer’s drafts. You’ve been in the class, you know the assignment, you’re a thinking reader. Providing the writer feedback on what you thought as you read the draft is helpful and important. You are not expected to look at it with the eye of an instructor nor do you need special training to give your opinion.

Think about the assignment and review the grading criteria. Of course, you and all of your peers want to get the highest grade possible. You can help each other with this goal by closely reviewing the grading criteria that will be used to evaluate the finished paper. Does the work you’re responding to fit the parameters of the assignment? Does it include all the required parts of the assignment? If you are concerned that the paper is missing an assignment element or does not fully answer a question in the prompt, be sure to express your concerns to your classmate and offer suggestions.

Specific Tips For Writers

Tell your peer responder what you want feedback on specifically. If you know you strugglewith a particular element (integrating tables, for example), ask you peer to be sure to provide feedback about that.

Specific Tips For Responders

Comment on things that the writer does particularly well. We’re all human and no one wants to only get told what can be better. Also, by being shown what’s working really well, writers than have a model for how to improve other sections that may not be working so well. Be sure to highlight the parts of the paper that are effective and make that feedback part of your response. What did you like best about the paper? What did you think was most effective? Why?

Howe Writing Initiative ‧ Farmer School of Business ‧ Miami University

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