How to write your peer edit letter:

Peer Review Commentary (Sample—539 words):
Dear Kathryne,
Overall, my peer editing was somewhere between moderately helpful and very helpful. I
was disappointed that my peer editor didn’t circle grammar or spelling errors, because
this is a source of trouble for me. Apparently it is a source of trouble for my peer editor,
too. Despite this, Andre gave me a great deal of helpful advice. The most helpful of these
dealt with my organization. He said that when he read the thesis, since it listed three main
points, he thought my paper was going to cover these three main points, and in the same
order. Unfortunately, it did not. Instead, he said, it was “disjointed” and “difficult to
follow.” I was bummed about this but eventually decided he was right, and restructured
my paper to mirror the thesis better.
Another area of complaint from Andre was that I “used too much evidence.” While I
understand what he’s saying, and I know I use a lot of quotes, I only use short quotes that
fit the point of what I’m trying to say. So I pretty much ignored this “too much evidence”
comment. I think my paper actually benefits from it. Just a matter of personal opinion.
Andre complimented my “tone” and said that I did a good job maintaining a down-toearth but professional “voice” in the writing. This was exactly what I had tried to do. He
did, however, point out a few times where my word choice or tone was inconsistent. For
example, on p. 3, I had written, “While the Iversons were cool with their son’s outburst,
few of the neighbors acquiesced.” Andre said it sounded odd to use the word “cool” in
one place and a “vocab word” like “acquiesced” in another, especially in the same
sentence. Reading over it, I decided he was right. I ended up changing this and a few
other words and phrases where he thought this occurred. This discovery was especially
annoying because I had re-read the paper a few times and thought I had everything
perfect. I should have caught something like that—oh well. One trick I learned from
talking to Andre about this was reading my paper out loud after it’s done and seeing if
anything sounds weird. This seems like a good strategy, and I’ll probably try it.
I have had experiences with peer edits in the past, and generally they have been negative
because the person editing the paper doesn’t really bother to put all that much work into
it. This was better because at least the person is going to be graded on the amount of
work they out into it. However, one thing I didn’t like about the format was the questions.
Though I understand that it might help get clueless people on track, I had a lot of
feedback that could not be addressed within the parameters of the questions. I guess they
just felt restrictive, even though they provided direction. This was better than my peer
editing experiences from the past, primarily because we were supposed to be as critical as
we could, so it didn’t feel mean to make a lot of suggestions. Overall, I changed a fair
amount of things from peer edit.
Marty Linn