Watch How to Be a Helpful Reviewer for more suggestions on reviewing.
The reviewing process is designed to help you and your peers become better writers. The more accurate, thoughtful and helpful the feedback you provide, the more you both will improve. Keep this in mind when rating and commenting on your peers’ work.
Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind while reviewing.
Write Helpful Comments
- Mention the strengths of the paper, so peers know where they succeeded.
- You are trying to help your peers improve their work, not evaluate them as a person.
- Give particular ideas for how to improve the work product.
- Don’t just complain about a problem; offer possible solutions for how to fix it.
- Follow the rubrics given to you by your instructor for each dimension.
- Be precise about where particular problems occur.
- Give examples.
- If there were some common problems at the basic writing level (spelling/grammar, poor word choice, awkward sentence structures), please describe the type of problem including the location of one instance.
This list of Useful Language for Making Comments can help you write more helpful comments. These are only helpful if you list the specific strengths, weaknesses, and suggestions for improvement that apply to the document you are reviewing. These phrases are meant to be a guide; you are not limited to using this wording in your comments. Remember that the more specific a comment, the more helpful it is to the document creator and if you can leave a suggestion for improvement, your comment will be more helpful than if you only identify a weak area in the document.
- The most helpful action you can take is to rate the document accurately according to the rubric.
- Be careful to read the rating descriptions fully and assign ratings that match up with what is in the document.
- Giving someone a higher (or lower) rating than they deserve is not helpful to the student you are reviewing and can have a negative effect on your grade.
Be open-minded about style
- Unless instructed otherwise, there is no one way for each paper to be written. For example, the paper doesn’t have to be formal or informal.
- Ask yourself: did you understand the paper, did you believe the argument, and did you learn something? There are many ways for students to communicate a strong argument.
Remember, you are being graded on your reviewing
- Your quantitative ratings are graded according to accuracy. If your peers feel a particular dimension on a work product is good and you grade it harshly, you will be penalized.
- Your commenting feedback is back-evaluated (graded) by authors on helpfulness and specificity – how much did your comments help them improve the work product? Harshly criticizing without offering constructive feedback will only result in a low helpfulness grade.
Consider what aspects of your own work you want to improve
- What aspect of your own writing can improve as a result of your reviews?
- What can you take away from each review that allows you to become a better writer?
It’s important to remember that the ratings you provide do not directly translate to grades. A rating of 7 does not correspond to a grade of 100% and a rating of 1 does not correspond to a failing grade. All ratings are weighted by the reviewer’s accuracy and normed according to settings your instructor selects.