Peer Review for Research Paper


For this assignment, you will read and mark two of your peers’ drafts and write a letter to each peer identifying areas for revision with suggestions for revision. For two of your peers’ essay drafts, provide feedback in marginal comments and a review letter.

  1. Marginal comments - around 1-3 comments per page. Use the Comments function in Google Docs for this. 

  2. Review letter added to the top of your peers’ essay approximately 300-500 words in length (see requirements for the letter below) 


  1. After you turn in your paper, you will be assigned to a group of three from your section. Watch for an email from me.

  2. Both readers should mark up and paste their letters into the same Google Doc.

  3. Complete your peer review by [day, date, time] Each reader must also post each of their letters in the Peer Review Forum with a link to the Google Doc.

  4. Read your partners’ comments before class.

  5. Peer review in class will be [day and time].

Requirements & Instructions 


First, read through the essay once without marking. As you read, think about the following elements:

  1. Introduction. Do you see a clear thesis and motive? What are they?

  2. Body Paragraphs. Does each paragraph make a claim and support it with specific evidence?

  3. Evidence: Does the essay make any claims without providing the evidence to support them? Identify these points and suggest how the author might provide more support. 

  4. Sources. Do you have a clear idea of the paper’s main sources and the positions they take? Does the writer create a critical conversation that involves multiple scholarly sources and themself? Is the author’s voice always in charge of the discussion or do the sources ever take over? Do the parenthetical citations clearly respond to items in the bibliography and vice versa?

  5. Analysis: Are there any moments when the essay does not analyze a quotation sufficiency? Are there moments when a summary is improperly offered as analysis?

  6. Conclusion. Does the conclusion state an evolved version of the thesis in the introduction? Does the author place the paper in a larger context? What are the main takeaways from this paper?

  7. Format: Does the paper adhere to the format guidelines set for the assignment? Are citations correctly formatted both in text and in the bibliography?

  8. The writer: The author has identified areas that need improvement in their paper. What answers do you have to offer?


Both readers should use the same Google Doc in Suggesting mode. 

  1. Mark awkwardly expressed sentences and phrases with unclear meanings.
    Mark where the writer has made a point effectively, performs a good reading or makes an exciting claim.

  2. Write marginal notes to the writer about anything that puzzles you, and explain why you are puzzled. 

  3. Marginal notes can be questions. 

  4. Make suggestions for additional evidence or contrary evidence that can make the analysis more complex.

  5. Aim to make about 1-3 comments per page - not significantly more or fewer


In a letter at the top of their essay, please include the following: 

  1. A greeting (i.e. their name) and a signature (your name) 
  2. Something you liked about their essay, maybe even more than one thing. 

  3. Be specific. What you think their argument is (don’t simply copy-paste their thesis, write it in your own words). 

  4. Respond to their cover letter and any concerns they raised for their reviewers. 

  5. Identify any aspects of the paper that confused you or where you got lost. 

  6. Provide a prioritized to-do list of 2-3 things that will most improve the paper upon revision. 

  7. Be sure to describe the issue and say why it needs revision and maybe even make a suggestion for revision.

  8. Focus on the most important elements like thesis and evidence and to a lesser degree mechanics unless it interferes with the more important elements. 

Suggestions for Successful Peer Review

  1. Focus on no more than three things

  2. You aren’t providing your peer with a complete checklist to create a perfect document but providing their next steps and priorities in revision.

  3. Don’t sweat the small stuff – Identify trends, not every error.

  4. Be Direct – Avoid polite indirectness; if something needs work, say so!

  5. Practice empathy - writing is challenging and emotional for writers; be mindful of the delivery and tone of your comments.

  6. Encourage self-correction, don’t correct your peers’ errors for them.

  7. Avoid over-commenting — again: 1-3 comments per page is a good benchmark

  8. Point out the positives. Writers need to know what they do well as much as what they need to edit.

  9. Provide explanations for your feedback and how a fix will lead to improvement.

  10. Make your marking clear; don’t just write question marks or highlight words without explanation.

  11. Everyone in our class is a writer. Hence everyone has something to offer other writers.

Other Logistics

  • Put  your peer review letter at the top of the essay and post it in the Peer Review Forum with a link to the Google Doc. 

  • If you receive feedback you don’t understand, reach out to your peer and ask them to explain it more. You are also welcome to talk to me about your peer feedback to help you understand it better.


  • I will evaluate your peer review on a completeness three-point scale (see below). Peer review is beneficial to both you as a writer and as a reviewer. Peer review is worth up to one pre-draft or 3x the usual TQ credit per paper.
  • 3pts = Complete/Outstanding; 
  • 2pts = Mostly Complete/Satisfactory; 
  • 1pt = Partially complete/Unsatisfactory; 
  • 0 pt = No Credit/Missing

Assignment Goals

  • To provide your peers with constructive feedback to help them not only revise their essays but become better writers
  • To become more aware of your writing process by helping others

  • To receive feedback from someone outside of the power dynamic of student/teacher

  • To not only practice identifying errors or weaknesses in writing but also practice strategizing potential solutions

  • To briefly step into an instructive role and take ownership over the learning process

  • To gain a stronger understanding of writing as a process and how all writers can help all writers

  • To emphasize the importance of feedback in the writing process


Paige Eggebrecht