Typical Editing Practice/Peer Review
Analytical Questions and Comments:
Always provide the writer with specific written commentary that you think would be helpful. Try to avoid undiplomatic statements, judgments, or vague generalizations. Remember that you only have limited in-class time to write comments for each author's paper. Your group should stay organized and efficient and use your time wisely. You may wish to appoint a Timekeeper and a Discussion Facilitator. Give your written comments to the author. They will go into the two-pocket folder that will be handed in with the final draft. Your group may choose to meet outside of class or to e-mail drafts to each other for editing and proofreading if you feel that you need additional time to go over each other's papers. The final written draft is due at the beginning of the next class period and also must be published to the class bulletin board.
What is your overall impression of the piece?
What do you like about the writing?
What needs to be improved or revised?
What needs more thought?
What are the obvious strengths of the piece?
What are its weaknesses?
Were you surprised by anything?
Does the writing show energy, personality, and presence?
Is there obvious evidence of an investment of effort, critical thinking about something, and intellectual energy?
Were your expectations as a reader fulfilled?
What are your impressions of the writer from the piece?
What general genre of writing is the piece? For example, is it comedy, tragedy, informative, personal, narrative (storytelling), descriptive, argumentative, etc.?
What is the main point of the piece?
Is the main point of the piece significant and appropriate for the writer's intended audience?
Is it interesting and engaging? If not, specifically how could it be made more interesting?
Is the writing clear?
Is the writer deliberately taking any risks with the writing?
Are the images "conjured up in the mind's eye" of the reader by the piece concrete and clear?
Are there any smells, sounds, colors, emotions, surprises, etc. in this writing?
Is the writer intending to create a "movie in our mind?"
Who is the audience? For example, friends, family, yourself in the future, a newspaper readership, the general public, an academic audience, your professors?
What is the emotional tone of the writing? Amused, distressed, smug, angry, confused, analytical, etc. Would the writing be improved with a different emotional tone?
Is the emotional tone of the writing consistent?
Do the ideas make sense?
Does the writing have a point, persuade, or entertain?
Is there a depth to the analysis or sophistication to the ideas?
Does the writing bring you into the writer's world?
Does the writer approach the topic in an interesting way?
Is the position of the writer clear?
Is the writing thought provoking?
Are the people or problems mentioned interesting?
What could the author elaborate on? A typical written comment might indicate something like: "please elaborate"
What could they cut back on? A typical written comment might be: "Is this needed here?"
What else would you like to know about their topic? "I would like to hear more about this."
What is the thesis?
Is the thesis supported?
What is the purpose?
Who is the audience for this writing?
How is the paper organized?
Could the organization be improved?
Should any sections be rearranged?
Are there enough paragraph breaks?
Does each paragraph have a topic sentence?
Does the topic sentence have support?
Are paragraphs unified, coherent, and developed?
Are paragraphs focused and complete?
Are the paragraphs smoothly and logically connected?
What are the assumptions the writer makes about the topic? Do they need to be examined?
What are the assumptions the writer makes about her or his readers?
Does the writer need to someone to "play devil's advocate" to crystalize their thinking?
What assumptions are you are making about the topic as the reader?
Do any sentences confuse you?
Are there any awkward phrases?
Are there any choppy sentences?
Are there any run-on sentences (that need to be broken into two sentences)?
Are there spelling errors?
Are there punctuation errors?
Are there any problems with the placement of commas?
Are there errors of grammar? For example, do the subjects agree with verbs in number?
Does the writer use active verbs instead of passive ones?
Would this piece sound better if it was written in the first person or the third person?
Are the images and emotions referred to by the author clear, vague, pleasing, unpleasant, interesting, boring?
Does the author seem to be personally and sincerely interested in their topic or are they just going through the motions?
If you were to imagine the text as an animal what would it be? For example, a snail, a greyhound, a whale, a doberman, a dolphin, an eagle, etc.
Is this an "A" paper?
Is this piece good enough to be published?