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Week 8 workshopping: peer response

I am keeping the list of questions here short, but I expect that you should write in the neighborhood of two single-spaced pages of criticism and feedback to help your classmate improve his or her paper. You may insert comments on the draft, but compose the bulk of your response in a separate document.

I am sending (or have already sent) each of you a classmate's 15-page draft along with the author's email address. You have until Friday night to email your classmate your feedback, and you should "cc" me when you send the email. You can certainly do the response tomorrow if you're ready for spring break to get here ASAP!

Read your classmate's draft once from start to finish without writing any of your response; then read the questions below and go through the paper a second time, answering each of them carefully and thoroughly. Note that you are not restricted to just these items--you can and should offer any helpful feedback on any other aspects of the paper not specifically covered in the given questions.

1. Suggest improvements in structure: should certain paragraphs be moved to a specific point earlier or later in the paper?

2. Any other paragraphing problems: paragraphs that could use stronger topic sentences (suggest better ones)? paragraphs that are poorly unified and could be divided into smaller separate paragraphs? any underdeveloped paragraphs that might work better combined with other paragraphs in close proximity essentially making the same point?

3. Point out paragraphs or portions of paragraphs that seem extraneous, not really important to the essay overall--so that they might be deleted without harming the paper.

4. Point out places, separately, where you get a little lost or confused about what the author is trying to communicate--say specifically what makes you lost or confused, and make suggestions to lessen or eliminate the confusion.

5. Point out places, separately, where you understand the author's point but you find it weak in some fashion or unconvincing. Say what makes these points weak or unconvincing, and offer suggestions to help improve them.

6. Point out places in the paper where the author may be giving too much of good thing, belaboring points beyond what's needed. Make suggestions for improving the efficiency of the author's writing in these places.

7. Evaluate the author's use of secondary sources: any places where the author seems to rely too heavily on one or more particular critics or scholars (a balance of 10 or 12 sources throughout the paper would be ideal at this point)? Any quotations from secondary sources that could be streamlined? (If so, suggest what might be cut.) Do you think the author could use more support from research in places (identify them)?

8. Evaluate the author's illustration of primary claims with quotations from the primary text(s): too much in any places, not enough in others?

9. Do not "mark" the paper or spend much time with grammar, diction, or mechanics, but if you notice any patterns of significant recurrences of particular local problems, point out one or two of these places and explain what the problem is.

10. Any other suggestions that would strengthen the paper?

11. Wish your classmate a great spring break!