Bring this handout to every peer revision.

What to do: The idea of a Peer Revision Workshop is that you will carefully read peers' papers and write the following critiques in the margins, drawing an arrow to the appropriate sentence(s):

Do this first:

1) Locate the thesis statement, circle it, and write "thesis."

2) Does the opening paragraph identify a topic and then proceed to narrow a specific aspect of that topic.  Further, does the thesis statement seem to be the natural result of that narrowing process? If so, say so. If not, say so.

Comments to make as margin notes:


Circle the word, phrase, or sentence, then draw a line to the margin and write your comment.

UNFINISHED THOUGHT -- Has the writer sufficiently finished the thought?  Did the sentence you just read require more explanation?

AWKWARD -- Even if you are not sure how to fix the sentence, do you have the feeling that it is difficult to read, that it sounds clunky?

UNCLEAR -- Do you have to read the sentence more than once to understand it?

VAGUE -- Is the sentence specific enough? Maybe the sentence is not awkwardly phrased or unclear, and you may know exactly what the writer means, but the point being made could be more specific. Example: "The effects of this new technology are becoming more widespread." Specifically what effects? Are they positive or negative?

WORDY -- Are there loads of prepositions: at, of, to, by, for, in, etc. Saying it in fewer words is usually better.

GENERALIZATION -- Does the writer say any of the following: "everybody knows/thinks," "no one believes." If so, these are generalizations and should be avoided.

TYPOS, SPELLING ERRORS, POOR PUNCTUATION -- Indicate where work is sloppy.

EXPLAIN MORE -- Is there only a sentence or two of explanation after a quote? There should be much more.

CHOICE OF QUOTE? -- Does the quote seem like a good choice, or should the writer look for a stronger quote?

WORD CHOICE -- Is there a word in the sentence you just read that seems like a poor choice? If you can think of a better choice, then write it above the word.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? -- Find an instance where the writer summarizes something from the primary text, and then offers little or no interpretation to explain why it was important to include the summary.

CITE THIS — Note anything that you believe needs to be cited.


Use the list above to find where the writer, for example, does finish a thought, or avoids wordiness by employing clean and concise prose, or has a sufficiently long explanation after a quote.

Note these things in the margin too.