WRD 104: Composition & Rhetoric II Rotating Header Image

Editorial Peer Reviews

The most helpful reviewers are interested in the topic and the writer’s approach to it. They ask questions, make concrete suggestions, report on what is confusing and why, and offer encouragement. Good reviewers give writers a new way to see their drafts so that they can edit effectively. After reading an effective review, writers should feel confident about taking the next step in the writing process.

Peer review is difficult for two reasons. First, offering writers a way to imagine their next draft is just hard work. Unfortunately, there’s no formula for giving good writing advice. But you can always do your best to offer your partner a careful, thoughtful response to the draft and a reasonable sketch of what the next version might contain. Second, peer review is challenging because your job as a peer reviewer is not to grade the draft or respond to it as an English instructor would. As a peer reviewer, you will have a chance to think alongside writers whose writing you may consider much better or far worse than your own. 

Being a peer reviewer should improve your own writing as you see how other writers approach the same assignment. So make it a point to tell writers what you learned from their drafts; as you express what you learned, you’ll be more likely to remember their strategies. Also, you will likely begin reading your own texts in a new way. Although all writers have blind spots when reading their own work, you will gain a better sense of where readers expect cues and elaboration.

St. Martin’s 4b.: Reviewing peer writers — at least two fully developed paragraphs

Focus on:

  • Is the framework is identifiable? Early?
  • Summary language and rhetorical appeals are precise: argues that, claims that, suggests that, implies that, asserts that; shows how an argument is made; attempts to analyze why the argument is made; speculates on the audience and the implications for the issue under consideration
  • Does the conclusion raise new and interesting questions? Does it conclude with a vivid image? “Every wolf, therefore, is more than just a wolf …”