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Writing a Peer Response: Efficient Tips and Suggestions

June 30, 2021| Category: Writing Tips

Even the most skilled and creative academic writers cannot avoid writing multiple drafts before creating final versions of their papers. No matter what kind of academic paper you are supposed to write, you should look at your paper critically before its submission. It will help you improve its quality on different layers. To help students develop their critical thinking skills, teachers often ask them to complete peer responses in which they should provide objective evaluations of the ideas and insights suggested by others. If you need to write a peer response but you are not sure how to complete this task successfully, use as a guide our constructive suggestions and practices. They will help you succeed at peer review writing. By understanding the main peculiarities of this task, you will be able to create impeccable papers.

What Is a Peer Review?

Peer review, sometimes called peer response, is an opportunity to evaluate the work written by another student and provide detailed comments on it. Pay attention that this task has nothing in common with proofreading, which deals only with fixing grammatical and spelling flaws. When writing a peer response, you will need to tell about your overall impression of another student’s work. The task requires you to explain why you find some of the ideas exciting and others quite inaccurate. If you manage to succeed in peer review writing, you will significantly develop your analytical and critical thinking proficiency, establishing your credibility as a researcher. When reviewing someone else’s work, you will need to pay attention to multiple layers to make your review sound maximally unbiased and objective. Have a look at what aspects will help you draw a clear picture of another student’s work:

  • Check whether it corresponds with requirements;
  • Analyze if it meets its goals;
  • Check if it states a precise point;
  • Establish whether the arguments are developed in a logical way;
  • Ascertain whether the paper is organized well;
  • Check if the paper follows the traditional structure;
  • Establish whether the writing style is appropriate for the type of the paper;
  • Check if the author uses the formatting style correctly.

To organize the work properly, you will need to read the paper attentively. You will probably need to read it twice or more times to understand its main strengths and weaknesses. If you are not sure how your peer review response should look like, you can follow the provided samples that will boost your writing inspiration. We strongly recommend you take this assignment seriously, as it takes a great part of the student’s overall grade.

Below, you will find a detailed guide on how to organize the process of writing a peer response:

  • In the first part of your response, you will need to write a summary of your interpretation of the work you are reviewing. This section should sound very general telling about your overall impression of the work.
  • Supporting examples. Once you provide your impression, you will need to justify your feedback by giving specific examples from the paper. For example, if you state that the work is persuasive enough, you need to explain what makes you think so. This means that you will need to explain which of the author’s arguments sound appealing and what evidence has helped you understand it. When citing the ideas taken from the primary source, you will need to follow the rules of the citation style indicated in your prompt.
  • Finally, you need to tell about your overall impression of the work again, which will help your audience understand what you think about it and if you recommend it for reading.

Writing a Peer Response: Additional Strategies

Below, you will find additional clues that will help you create a perfect peer response:

  • Try to be maximally objective. When expressing your opinion on another author’s piece of writing, you will need to be objective and unbiased. To do it, you will need to back up all of your arguments with appropriate examples from the piece;
  • Use appropriate sentence starters. To help your audience enjoy reading your work, you will need to use appropriate transition words. This strategy will help you make the text of your response flow smoothly;
  • Focus on more significant issues. Please, note that your task is to provide the overall picture of the work you are reviewing instead of analyzing each sentence. Therefore, we strongly recommend you read the work several times to understand what points you will discuss in your paper. Also, you may develop your arguments depending on the degree of their importance. This means that the content of the work is significant, whereas grammatical mistakes are just a minor concern;
  • Use sufficient evidence. As it was already told, you should always back up your arguments. If you fail to support your arguments with good evidence, the author of the work may think that you are biased and prejudiced;
  • Try to be maximally constructive. If you write, “I like this post,” you will not help the author improve their writing proficiency. Only if you manage to analyze the work thoroughly, you will help its author understand what areas should be improved;
  • Use the “sandwich” approach. According to this approach, you will need to write something positive at the very beginning of your response. Then, you will need to provide your objective criticism informing the author about the points that should be reconsidered. Finally, you will need to finalize your review on a positive and encouraging note;
  • Be empathetic. Although this task should help you become a skilled reviewer, you should understand that the peer will read your feedback. They will feel embarrassed if your review sounds too negative. As such, we strongly recommend you choose a positive tone;
  • Revise your work. Before you submit your review, you will need to revise it thoroughly. It will be awkward to criticize another person’s work but submit a paper full of mistakes. Therefore, we strongly recommend you spend some time on an in-depth revision of your paper, as it will help you make a good impression on your readers.
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