Thursday, July 21, 2011

Peer Editing Worksheet

A good peer edit is not an itemized list of broad impressions, problems, or compliments, but should represent a sustained and sympathetic argumentative engagement with the text you are reading. Editors, you should provide comments in the form of a short essay that clearly answers all or most of the following

1. What is your own name?

2. What is the name of the paper's author?

3. What is the title of the paper?

4. Did the paper satisfy the expectations raised in its title? **

5. In your own words, state what you think to be the thesis of the paper in one or two sentences.**

6. Was this thesis expressed clearly in the paper itself?

7. Is this a strong thesis?

8. Why or why not?

9. Can you imagine an intelligent opposition to this thesis?

10. What might this be?

11. Does the author remain true to this thesis through the paper? **

12. Were there important terms that needed stronger or clearer definitions? **

13. If yes, what were they?

14. Did the author use quotations from the text effectively to justify and illustrate their interpretations?

15. Did the author anticipate relevant objections to their various claims? **

16. Name an objection that either should have been addressed or which warranted a deeper exploration than the paper presently provides.

17. Did the author’s address of possible objections contribute to the strength of the case the paper is making, or distract from
that case as you understood it?

18. Comment on the papers line of argument (its overall clarity, the smoothness of its transitions and substantiations, the order in which it developed its points, etc.). **

19. Comment on the papers prose (style, grammar, sentence construction, punctuation, etc.).

20. What qualities did you like best about the paper? **

21. What is the single most important aspect of the paper that the author should work on before handing it in?

Things to consider as you read the comments of your editors:

1. What were the problems or concerns that most preoccupied you about your paper before beginning this peer editing process?

2. Were those concerns addressed by your editors? [If not, demand that they are.]

3. For each editor, which comments were most helpful to you?

4. Which comments would be more helpful if they were clarified or amplified somewhat? [Ask for clarifications or examples or suggestions on these issues.]

You should note that these are the questions which guide my own readings of your papers, and that my marginal comments and concluding discussion will tend to register my preoccupation with these same questions.

**These are questions you should make a habit of asking of any text at all that you are reading critically.

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