OVERALL HINTS TO CONSIDER: It takes skill to be an honest and critical reader of a peer?s writing. The skills are outlined in this document. In this assignment/role, you are functioning as a friendly editor, NOT a grader, therefore, you want to provide your peer with comments that will help with sensible revisions. The greatest help you can provide your colleague is to show a genuine interest in what the writer has said. To demonstrate interest, you need to ask questions, give encouragement, and make constructive suggestions for future drafts. As a peer editor, you are giving your colleague the benefit of a real audience. Make your argument as clear as possible. Suggest alternative approaches. ?Reign in? ideas that have gone ?too far?. You are reacting to a ?work in progress?. As an editor, you also will learn from this experience. DESCRIPTION OF ASSIGNMENT: STEP #1: Read the draft straight through one time: Get a feel for the ?big issues? before consideration about mechanics and language usage. Do you know what the writer is trying to achieve? Can you summarize the main point of the paper? Pay attention to your first impressions. STEP #2: Read the paper a second time, considering these questions: What do you like most about the paper? What particularly impressed you when you read it? How well does the paper achieve its purpose? Does it meet the goals of the assignment? If the purpose comes through clearly, where in the paper does this happen? Does the writer tailor the paper to his/her audience? Do you have any suggestions for adapting the paper for the intended audience? Do you have any suggestions to help the writer to focus the topic of the paper? Does the focus need to be narrower? Is a sharper thesis needed? Does the writer sound credible and/or believable? Do you have any suggestions about additional readings or sources that would add authority or strengthen the paper? Does the paper raise any questions? Do you have any ideas for additional information, discussion, or examples to be included in the paper? Any suggestions regarding details that the writer may want to mention? Does the writer use language in an effective manner? Are sentences readable and clear? Is the tone appropriate? Are there any recurring problems with grammar, usage, and mechanics? What are your general comments for the writer? Explain WHAT you like about the paper, as well as WHERE you believe the paper needs more development. STEP #3: Make marginal comments: During the second read, jot comments in the margins as you read it. Your comments should be genuine questions or observations, rather than stinging criticisms. When pointing out a weakness in a paper, use a courteous and supportive tone. Questions are usually helpful, e.g., ?Can you say more about this?? or ?Have you left something out here?? or ?Would this be stronger if you cut out this sentence?? Specific comments about the paper are the most helpful. STEP #4: Write out your responses to the paper: Once you have read the paper carefully and made comments in the margins, you will want to give the writer a general statement. This will be an overall statement for the writer to ponder, usually written on the last page of the paper. This will be a thoughtful paragraph at the end of the paper, summarizing your reaction to the draft. Start by telling the writer what the paper has accomplished. Tell the writer how well the paper works. Conclude with some suggestions for revisions. You may want to stress what you think the writer?s priorities may be. Open this paragraph with your colleague?s name and conclude with your signature. STEP #5: Use a limited number of proofreading symbols: When reading a first draft, you do not need to spend a lot of time editing minor mechanical and language usage problems. When reading a late draft, you will want to spend more time with these weaknesses.
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