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Conducting Effective Peer Reviews

A guide for effectively participating in the peer review process.


What Is Peer Review?

Peer review is...

  • A method for viewing your work through the lens of another person.
  • An honest and constructive conversation between you and your reviewer(s).
  • A collaborative effort where you both give and receive assistance.
  • A necessary step in the Writing Process

To read about the entire Writing Process, we recommend the following article:


There is an assumption that, prior to the peer review process, you will have revised and edited your paper.

  • During PEER REVIEW, your classmate may pinpoint all of the grammatical issues that he/she finds in your document, as well as reviewing your work for structural requirements and content.
  • The goal of PEER REVIEW is that classmates work together to improve each other's writing.

By the time your work goes to your instructor for review, it should have been reviewed for issues by yourself and by others.

  • During INSTRUCTOR REVIEW, your instructor may comment on some grammatical and structural elements of the essay, but the instructor's role is not to find every issue. It is the student's responsibility to read and understand the assignment, and ask questions if there are concerns.
  • The goal of INSTRUCTOR REVIEW is to provide feedback on your work for future improvement.


Peer review may seem like a labor-intensive process, but it does have benefits. Peer review...

  • Gives you the opportunity to help someone who may be struggling, but afraid to ask for help.
  • Gives you the opportunity to share your knowledge and experience.
  • Gives you the opportunity to see the types of errors others make, so you can address them in your own writing.
  • Sharpens your skills at finding and correcting different types of errors.
  • Builds your self-confidence as a writer.
  • Exposes you to new ideas because no two individuals will approach an assignment in exactly the same way.
  • Demonstrates that you are not alone.

Genius is not created in a silo, and neither is good writing. Peer review is a necessary element in order to receive strong feedback and improve the quality of your work.