Peer Review

Peer Review

Description: A good peer review provides developmental feedback to an author’s in-progress (but hopefully nearly completed) work. The job of peer reviewers is (1) to read a text in relation to the values of a particular publication venue, the venue’s audience, and the disciplinary conversations the audience/venue espouses, and (2) to provide constructive feedback to an author based on the text’s effectiveness at reaching those values.

Goals of the assignment:

  • to move your developmental-feedback skills from print-like to multimodal scholarship
  • to address specific audience and venue values based on your role as an editor
  • to understand the sensitive and collaborative nature of peer-review processes that are possible for experimental work

Due Date:

  • in class? If not, then by next class period.


  1. Situate yourself within the venue. If you haven’t already done so, familiarize yourself with Kairos. You’ll need to read the webtext in relation to the values that journal espouses. Your role here is to function as a reviewer/editorial board member of the publication in which this piece has been published.
  2. Read/review the webtext. With the values from that journal context (venue, audience, disciplinary conversations, etc.), read the webtext “generously” (meaning, give yourself some time to figure out how it works, why it works the way it does, and, if there are places in the text where you’re not sure — or don’t like — what an author has done, try to figure out what their reasoning for doing it that way was). Take notes on how and why you react/respond to the piece as you read. You should use the evaluation criteria as touchstones for explaining how/why you read the piece as you did. Does, in other words, the piece meet the values/expectations/criteria? Does it miss anywhere? For all questions such as this, the questions “Why” and “How” will probably need to be addressed. From your notes, figure out the main points you want to address in regards to the peer-review criteria, and begin to summarize your thoughts in relation to those criteria.
  3. Write the review. Discuss how the piece meets (or doesn’t meet) the expectations of the venue through its form:content. Write an initial post, or respond to any of the previous reviewers’ comments. The letter should be more formal than colloquial and should contain feedback for the author that is constructive and offers revision suggestions, if you have any (and you should have *some* revision suggestions). As a peer-reviewer, you are an expert in the field and are qualified to evaluate this piece of multimodal scholarship. Write from that voice/knowledge.

Some basic suggestions for drafting your review:

  1. the opening of your response often summarizes the submission’s purpose back to the editors/author, to ensure that you understood the piece and evaluated it with the venue in mind; and
  2. remember that the editor of the publication is your audience but that the editor often sends your letter to the author, so the language should be helpful and respectful.
  3. Make sure that your revision suggestions are clear.
  4. A peer-review response shouldn’t look or sound like a literary (or rhetorical) analysis.

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