Unit 8: Academic Writing Resources

48 Peer Response Training

To be effective, peer response, also known as peer review or peer feedback, involves:

  • the ability to identify what to comment on
  • knowing what to look for in an essay and what to ignore
  • knowing how to frame your comments effectively so the writer can understand what you mean and have an idea of how to revise.

The following information will help you better understand what to focus on and how to respond.

What should I comment on?

What you comment on for draft one will be different for draft two. In this class, you will conduct peer review for the first drafts of your essays. Below are some guidelines for things to focus on and things to ignore in the first drafts:

Things to comment on Things to ignore
insufficient introduction of evidence

thesis statement

too many quotes

lack of connecting explanation after evidence

order of main ideas

relevance of evidence



verb tense


grammar (UNLESS it interferes with your ability to understand the passage)

What makes comments effective?

Effective peer review comments are specific, clear, and tactful.

Quality Less effective example Improved example
Specific What??


The topic and focus in your thesis statement are not very clear to me. / It’s difficult to identify your position here. Could you try to make it clearer?

This is a separate idea, but it might be related to another main point. Does it fit in the second paragraph somehow?

Clear Change your thesis.

Not enough evidence.

You could express the topic more clearly and clarify supporting point number two more fully.

Your supporting point #2 seems a little short and unclear. Can you elaborate on this point more? I think you can find some evidence from the “X” article.

Tactful (polite) Your thesis is bad.

This is wrong.

Your thesis could be clearer. What do you mean by X? / I’m not quite sure what your focus is.

I’m not quite sure what you mean. /  I did not quite understand your point here. Could you rephrase the sentence?



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