peer review 195

This peer review will be completed in two parts. For the first part, you’ll download your partner’s paper and insert comments. These comments should follow Straub’s models for asking generative questions. Try and ask about three content related questionsper page. The objective of these questions, per Straub, is to encourage your partner to think deeply and precisely about their analysis and genre (research synthesis), not their “assignment.”

The second part of the peer review process will be a peer review letter, with each paragraph following a set structure. Each paragraph should begin with a topic statement, proceed with a claim, develop that claim with a sub-claim, support the sub-claim with evidence, analyze the evidence, and transition to the next paragraph. Review the handout titled “quotation integration handout” for a refresher on quotation use and paragraph structure. This is standard operating procedure in the academic peer review process, and a worthwhile genre to practice in its own write.

Conference Paper Peer Review

  1. Review the introduction and conclusion and identify the big claims and stakes that inform and guide the project. In other words, what are the Big Picture, real world concerns (occasion for writing) that necessitate the writing and research on this topic? Does the writer clearly identify these concerns? Are these concerns presented as the primary reason for conducting thisresearch project, or is it clear that those concerns inform the discourse community and that this researched argument is surveying the literature of that discourse community to consider how the it addresses the Big Picture concerns? (Hint: you should aspire to show how the discourse community addresses real world concerns, how your particular research synthesis addresses discourse community practices, and, from there, how your work advances real world, Big Picture concerns).
  1. Review the thesis statement; is it clearly identifiable? How long is it? Is the writer over-burdening a single sentence (in other words, trying to write one long thesis statement that confuses you) or presenting a series of shorter, more digestible thoughts that outline the topics and ideas to be explored in the essay? After reading the essay, does the thesis statement seem accurate? Does it pose research questions that are actually answered – or at least explored – by the essay? Offer suggestions on how the thesis statement might be made more accurate or easier to understand.
  1. Review transitions between paragraphs and sections (if applicable). Does the writer maintain continuity from paragraph to paragraph, not only in terms of topic, but in terms of emphasis? Each paragraph should pick up where the preceding one leaves off – this means that the same idea or subject should be considered in two ways, hence the paragraph break. Transitions are also an excellent opportunity for the writer to narrate their thought process; they allow the foregrounding of analysis and critical thinking rather than source material. Does the essay take advantage of transitions to maintain continuity and establish flow, voice, and command of the research materials? Along these lines, offer suggestions for improving the essay’s readability.
  1. Does the essay “hang together” such that it’s intelligible by a conference audience? Remember that conference papers are typically read aloud, so while we’re not looking to “dumb down” the intellectual content, it needs to be presented accessibly and engagingly. In short, this type of paper needs to narrate the research, to tell the story of the topic. Offer suggestions for improving narrative strategy, especially when the paper shift focal points or moves between topics. Are there rhetorical cues or clues, signposting or signal phrases, that might be helpful to include?
  1. Offer any final mechanical, grammatical, or stylistic suggestions. At this point, it is appropriate to say “this sounds weird,” “this is difficult to understand,” etc. You should also check for citation; evidence should be cited, quotations should be concise and purposeful, and the writer should fluidly move between source texts and their own words. If the paper is light on citations, point this out, and ask your partner to explain why. Then, figure out a way to put in more citations, because they will be needed.
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