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Further Reading & Resources for Peer Review

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Beaudin, Andrea L., Steven J. Corbett, Ilene W. Crawford. "Peer Pressure, Peer Power: Toward Systematic Collaborative Peer Review in the Composition and Writing Across the Curriculum Classroom."

Belcher, Lynn. “Peer Review and Response: A Failure of the Process Paradigm as Viewed from the Trenches.” Reforming College Composition: Writing the Wrongs. Eds. Ray Wallace, Alan Jackson, and Lewis Wallace. Westport, CT: Greenwood P, 2000. 99-111. Print.

Bishop, Wendy. “Helping Peer Writing Groups Succeed.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College 15 (1988): 120-25. Print.

Breuch, Lee-Ann Kastman.  Teaching and Learning About Writing in Online Environments. SUNY Press, 2004. LINK to overview / LINK to first chapter 

Breuch's article is definitely defined by her time frame: writing in 2004, her emphasis lies in arguing for virtual, digital peer review as a mod eof "remediation" of traditional face-to-face peer review. Part of her interest lies in exploring peer review as a written encounter or artifact (using technology) rather than an oral and live encounter. The first chapter of her book, available free online, offers an overview of virtual peer review circa the early 2000s as well as a lit review of earlier articles that discussed tech-mediated peer review (via e-mail and discussion forum). - Gabrielle Moyer

Byland, Heather. “Educating Students about Peer Response.” Young Scholars in Writing 2 (2004): 56-67.

This article presents by anecdotal and empirical evidence for why (and how) writing instructors should involve their students in the meta-processes of peer revision. Through personal experience, observation of a composition course that the author taught, and a survey of 122 students, the teacher-researcher argues that instructors should provide students with the purpose/background for doing peer reviews, the language to successfully conduct a peer review, and the main lessons to take away once a peer review has been performed. - Gabrielle Moyer

Cahill, Lisa. “ Reflections on Peer Review Practices .” Strategies for Teaching First-Year Composition. Eds. Duane Rosen et al. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2002: 301-307. (GM)

This is a personal account of peer review from the classroom (as opposed to an analysis of multiple studies). Moving away from peer review workshops that emphasize detailed reading heuristics, LC explains her current, less formally structured approach to these activities. Drawing on Faigley’ social perspective on non-academic writing (1985), LC attempts to expand students’ notions of audience, purpose, context and argumentation, reflecting on the traditions out of which their papers may come. Specifically: she has them set their own agendas: invent a general list of questions related to the genre in which they are writing, then consider the communities related to these topics, possible counterarguments, potential organizational structures, implications of their arguments and previous progress made on these issues. This, she argues, gives students the responsibility for directing the reading of their papers. By not giving them a set of open ended questions to answer, she instead lets them develop a set of reading heuristics. In this way peer review becomes a space for participating in social efforts to create and interpret meaning. - Gabrielle Moyer

Cho, Kwangsu, and Charles MacArthur. “Student Revision with Peer and Expert Reviewing.” Learning and Instruction 20 (2010): 328-338.

This study draws on extensive research to show that complex repairs occur with multiple feedback more than with purely expert or single peer feedback. The study thus sets out to explore peer feedback as an alternative to expert feedback, looking at quality of revisions of research essays at the college level. It marks out ways that expert feedback can impede progress: “curse of expertise” (i.e. underestimating difficulty of the level of tasks for novices, using knowledge novices cannot refer to, overestimating the potential performance of novices, ambiguous, too general, or inconsistent feedback). Peers, in comparison, may produce more effective understandable comments. An advantage of multiple peers is that it makes students keen to audience reception and collective consensus makes feedback persuasive.

The study to support these claims involved 30 undergraduates in a psychology writing intensive class taught    by a writing instructor teaching the class for 8 years. The study determined that students’ writing improved most from multiple peers rather than from that instructor or single peer (where multiple peers meant 6 peers). Research included double blind evaluation of first and second drafts—without knowing which kind of feedback had been given  (expert, single peer or multiple peer). Most complex repairs in MP (multiple peers) which improved quality of the paper–according to rigorous, numerous evaluative criteria. This included: clarifying meaning at the sentence or parag. level and elaborating the meaning of existing points. - Gabrielle Moyer

Corbett, Steven J. “The Give and Take of Tutoring On Location: Peer Power and Authority in Classroom-Based Writing Tutoring.” Praxis: A Writing Center Journal 4.2 (Spring 2007): n. pag. Web. 7 August 2009.

Corbett, Steven J., and Juan C. Guerra. “Collaboration and Play in the Writing Classroom.” Academic Exchange Quarterly 9.4 (Winter 2005): 106-11. Print.

George, Diana. “Working with Peer Groups in the Composition Classroom.” College Composition and Communication 35.3 (1984): 320-26. Print.

Grimm, Nancy. “Improving Students’ Responses to Their Peers’ Essays.” College Composition and Communication 37.1 (1986): 91-94. Print.

Harris, Muriel. “Collaboration Is Not Collaboration Is Not Collaboration: Writing Center vs. Peer-Response Groups.” College Composition and Communication 43 (1992): 369-83. Print.

Holt, Mara. “The Value of Written Peer Criticism.” College Composition and Communication. 44 3.3 (1992): 348-92. Print.

Learning and Instruction. “ Improving the Effectiveness of Peer Feedback for Learning.” Gielen 20 (2010) 304-315 (GM)

This study begins by citing 5 earlier studies on the significant positive effect of peer review in the writing classroom.  Some reasons: although peer review is defined by an absence of clear knowledge/ authority and seems less reliable, students yet proceed to check feedback (as opposed to simply taking instructor’s feedback as true) thus performing more self corrections and acquiring a deeper understanding of the subject. Another benefit to peer review is the way it helps to manage workload: lower accuracy is a trade off for increased follow up of student progress. Specific suggestions for more constructive feedback included: rationale and revision suggestion; avoidance of naïve language (good, fine, excellent); thought provoking/questions for reflection; positive and negative comments; suggestions for improvement; relation to criteria. Regarding instructor intervention: best results were from a priori questions and a posteriori assessment of feedback (i.e. guiding questions and having students assess feedback and how they will take that feedback into account for revisions). - Gabrielle Moyer

Miller, Susan K. “ Using Group Conferences to Respond to Essays in Progress .” Strategies for Teaching First-Year Composition. Eds. Duane Rosen et al. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2002: 291-310.

Another first person account from the classroom. Although Susan Miller describes strategies for encouraging peers to respond to classmates’ writing, she also discusses strategies for melding peers’ responses with a teachers’ responses. This can be difficult to orchestrate because student writers often privilege the comments and questions offered by the person assigning the course grade. Solution: group conferences 2-3 students plus teacher, each read draft before meeting, each writes a 1 page response to each draft (in the form of a letter), and once in the group, everyone (including the teacher) must say one thing the author did well and one thing to work on in revision. They then go around circle and say what each will revise.  Result: students gain confidence in their assessments as they see they are similar to teacher, and students gain confidence in peer feedback as they see they are similar to teachers. Identifies this process to students as the most exciting step in the writing process: “when we get to see our writing through the eyes of our audience…a luxury we don’t often have when we hand in writing for an assignment or send it out to be published.” Her prep work involves asking students to come to conferences with an open mind. She also goes over an essay with the students in class beforehand, and generates feedback for the essay with them. Finally, she encourages students to ask questions in their responses. - Gabrielle Moyer

Moss, Beverly J., Nels P. Highberg, and Melissa Nicolas, eds. Writing Groups Inside and Outside the Classroom. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004. Print.

Newkirk, Thomas. “Direction and Misdirection in Peer Response.” College Composition and Communication. 35.3 (1984): 301-11. Print.

Paton, Fiona. “Approaches to Productive Peer Review.” Strategies for Teaching First-Year Composition. Eds. Duane Rosen et al. Urbana, IL: NCTE,
2002: 290-300.

Fiona Paton’s essay does not craft a radically new approach to peer preview.  Instead, she offers “useful advice” drawn from experience, fellow teachers and scholarly work.  The essay is designed to offer new instructors a guide to framing peer review for students, handling procedural issues that arise in the process of peer review, and maintaining strong peer collaborations throughout the quarter.  This essay may also be useful for experienced instructors who want to compare their own implementation of peer review against a fairly complete overview of another instructor’s process.  Within Paton’s careful review of her own process a number of ideas emerge that may be valuable.  For example, Paton wraps up the process of in-class peer review by asking her students to choose something good from their paper to share with the class.  The “sharing of good writing… brings the slightly chaotic of workshopping to effective closure and encourages students to feel positive about the drafting process”  (296). - Gabrielle Moyer

Reid, Shelley. "Shelley's (Quick) Guide for Writing Instructors: Full-Circle Peer Review." Website.

Spear, Karen. Sharing Writing: Peer Response Groups in English Classes. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1988. Print.

Strasma, Kip. “Spotlighting”: Peer-Response in Digitally Supported First-Year Writing Courses.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College 37.2 (December 2009): 153-160.

Taking a dialogic, social-constructive approach to peer response, the author of this short piece discusses the use of technology (e.g. CMS, wikis, etc.) to engage students in active peer response. The author uses the term “spotlighting” to highlight a process akin to large group (i.e. whole class) workshops of an individual student’s work. The author provides a step-by-step pedagogical model on how best to implement this,  though curiously the role of technology is largely absent (or superficially applied.) - Gabrielle Moyer