Peer Reviewing an Essay: Providing Feedback

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  • 0:02 What Is Peer Review?
  • 1:13 Sample Essay
  • 1:57 Feedback Checklist
  • 3:44 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we'll examine specific focus areas of concentration for peer reviewing an essay for content. Further, we'll inspect a sample essay and look at possible peer review feedback.

What Is Peer Review?

How does peer review improve writing? Peer review is when someone with a similar educational background checks your work (or vice-versa) to make sure it's ready to be turned in or published. The reviewer may find some grammatical errors that need to be fixed, but more importantly, the reviewer can provide valuable feedback that can help the writer create a stronger essay.

A peer reviewer is not there to tell the writer that the paper is great if it isn't, nor is he there to look for mistakes where there are not any. The peer reviewer does not give a personal opinion about the subject matter but helps the writer recognize ways to better communicate the material to the reader.

Here are some things that a reviewer may look for when completing a peer review based on content:

  • Is the thesis, or main argument, of the paper clear and supported throughout the essay?
  • Is there information in the paper that is not relevant to the thesis that should be cut?
  • Is the information clearly written?
  • Does the author engage the reader?
  • Is the essay well-organized with an introduction, body, and conclusion?
  • Is the evidence that is used in the essay accurate?

Now, let's examine a short essay to identify areas for feedback.

Sample Essay

Sally Ride, the first woman astronaut in America to ride in space, was an athlete. Ride enjoyed running, tennis, softball, and volleyball. While a physics student at Stanford University, Ride answered a newspaper ad inviting women to become astronauts. Sally was one of six women selected.

Sally enjoyed space flights throughout the 1980s. During the 1983 ride, Sally worked on a robotic arm that is used to propel satellites into space. Both of her trips into space were on the space shuttle. Eileen Collins was the first woman to command a space shuttle mission.

After her space flights, Sally spent the rest of her life writing science books and encouraging girls to pursue careers in science.

Feedback Checklist

What kind of feedback would you give the author of this essay? Let's go through the checklist.

Is the thesis clear and supported throughout the essay?

In this particular piece, there is not a clear thesis statement. The opening line would suggest that this essay is going to be about Sally Ride's athleticisms, but the following paragraphs do not support that statement. Providing a clear introduction would include a strong thesis statement, such as, 'Sally Ride was a role-model for girls who are interested in science.'

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