5a. Sharing

Sharing and Reviewing

After working closely with a piece of writing, writers often need to step back and ask for a more objective reader. What writers most need is feedback from readers who can respond only to the words on the page. When they are ready, writers show their drafts to someone they respect and who can give an honest response about its strengths and weaknesses.

You, too, can ask a peer to read your draft when it is ready. Providing your peer reviewers with questions you would like them to consider, areas you would like them to focus on, or other things you would like feedback on will help your reviewer provide more constructive feedback.  After evaluating the feedback and assessing what is most helpful, the reader’s feedback will help you when you revise your draft. This process is called peer review and is used by professors and other professionals to share ideas, receive feedback, and prepare essays for revision and publication.

You can work with a partner in your class and identify specific ways to strengthen each other’s essays. Although you may be uncomfortable sharing your writing at first, remember that each writer is working toward the same goal: a final draft that fits the audience and the purpose. Maintaining a positive attitude when providing feedback will put you and your partner at ease. The box that follows provides a useful framework for the peer review session.


Peer Review Template

Title of essay:                                                                                                                               


Writer’s name:                                                                                                                               

Peer reviewer’s name:                                                                                                                  

  1. This essay is about:                                                                                                                
  2. Your main points in this essay are:                                                                                     .
  3. What I most liked about this essay is:                                                                               .
  1. These three points struck me as your strongest:
  2. These places in your essay are not clear to me:
  • Where:                                                                                                                                     

Needs improvement because:                                                                                                      

  • Where: :                                                                                                                                    

Needs improvement because:                                                                                                       

  • Where:                                                                                                                                      

Needs improvement because:                                                                                                       

The one additional change you could make that would improve this essay significantly is:                                                                                                         

Writing Labs and Tutors

Most colleges and universities offer students additional writing coaching and tutoring through writing centers, tutoring, centers, accessible education centers, multicultural centers, and/or services for student athletes. In most cases, writing coaching, tutoring, and online writing labs are free to students. Writing coaches typically focus their sessions on content, organization, and structure issues rather than grammar, spelling, and punctuation. (Please do not ask a writing tutor to edit your grammar for you as if they are a proofreader!) Prepare questions for your tutor in advance and bring your writing task instructions and other useful information so they can provide the best possible feedback and guidance. Ask your instructor if your school has a writing or tutoring center if you are unsure.


Using Feedback Objectively

The purpose of peer feedback is to receive constructive criticism of your essay. Your peer reviewer is your first real audience, and you have the opportunity to learn what confuses and delights a reader so that you can improve your work before sharing the final draft with a wider audience (or your intended audience).

It may not be necessary to incorporate every recommendation your peer reviewer makes. However, if you start to observe a pattern in the responses you receive from peer reviewers, you might want to take that feedback into consideration in future assignments. For example, if you read consistent comments about a need for more research, then you may want to consider including more research in future assignments.


Using Feedback from Multiple Sources

You might get feedback from more than one reader as you share different stages of your revised draft. In this situation, you may receive feedback from readers who do not understand the assignment or who lack your involvement with and enthusiasm for it.

You need to evaluate the responses you receive according to two important criteria:

  1. Determine if the feedback supports the purpose of the assignment.
  2. Determine if the suggested revisions are appropriate to the audience.


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Writing as Inquiry Copyright © 2021 by Kara Clevinger and Stephen Rust is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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