The following instructions are for the course Writing Scientific Papers in English run by CLA / Politecnico di Torino. The feedback is given on a group discussion forum within a VLE, with 2 peers commenting on the writer’s work.

PEER FEEDBACK

What is peer feedback?

Peer feedback is when students read each other’s drafts and make comments or ask questions in order to help the writer revise and improve their text.

The best peer feedback is supportive and respectful of the writer’s work.

NB: Correcting “mistakes” is only one part of peer feedback. Writers need to develop content and consider the organization before revising grammar and spelling.

Why is peer feedback useful?

When we write we need to produce a text which can be understood easily. Peer readers can tell us which parts of our text are difficult to understand. Research indicates that students who give peer feedback also become better writers themselves

How do I give peer feedback?

  • Read the draft text twice: the first time to get an overall understanding and the second time to offer feedback for the writer to consider
  • Start by indicating what was good about the text.
  • Make sure your comments are specific: refer to specific sentences/ words/ paragraphs in the draft – use the Quote tool. Remember to use collegial language (=showing mutual consideration and respect).
  • Add reasons for your comments where possible (refer to the coursebook, course work and information from the Useful links).
  • Be prepared to dialogue with the writer about your comments. The writer may disagree with your feedback. He/she has the right to refuse or accept it. If you discuss your reasons together you will both learn more.

Suggested areas for comment in peer feedback

Positive aspects

Was one sentence or paragraph particularly easy to read/very clear? Is there an area which shows a good academic style? How? Is there an area of the text that you think will help to improve your writing? How?

Organization of ideas

In a sentence / a paragraph / the whole text. Is the organization logical? Does the reader need extra information in order to understand the ideas? Is there any unnecessary repetition of ideas?

Word choice

Do you feel different words would make the meaning clearer/create a more academic style / be more standard in English? What alternatives can you suggest?

Sentence length

Is there too much information in one sentence? Could the sentence be divided into more than one sentence to make meaning clearer? Are some words unnecessary? Did you find it difficult to understand?

Grammar

Has the writer made any mistakes with the areas of grammar covered in in the course so far?

Content

Do you think some information is not relevant to this section of a paper? Do you think some information is missing from this section of the paper?

What to do with peer feedback

  • Read and think about your readers’ comments.
  • If feedback is unclear, ask your readers to clarify their comments.
  • If you disagree with some comments, discuss them with your readers and explain your point of view. Entering into a dialogue will give all members of the group a deeper understanding of the point under discussion and make you remember it better in your future writing
  • Write your second draft using the feedback which you feel is relevant and would improve the text.

Sources

http://www.readwritethink.org/professional-development/strategy-guides/peer-review-30145.html

http://writing2.richmond.edu/writing/wweb/peeredit.html

http://manoa.hawaii.edu/mwp/program-research/writing-matters/wm-7

http://www.hawaii.edu/eli/resources/writing/miscmats/peer_feedback.doc