Peer Review for Thinking About Food

This is your last opportunity in ENG 123 to demonstrate your peer review skills. Remember, level 4 feedback a) focuses more on the writer’s ideas, organization, and idea development than on sentence-level errors, b) consistently makes specific suggestions for changes, and c) regularly considers the implications of the writer’s ideas, finds opportunities for extending them, or introduces counter-arguments.

Generate evidence of your peer review skills and help your colleagues improve their papers by using the following prompts to provide them with substantive feedback in the form of margin comments.

  • How well does the opening segment of the paper use ideas, language, and examples from Kingsolver, Pollan, and/or Bittman to raise compelling ethical questions about the industrial food production system? What works well? What could be improved? Consider: How are sources used in the opening? To what degree does the opening establish a project for the student-writer to accomplish in the paper? Would a reader unfamiliar with this topic and our sources be able to make sense of the opening?
  • How well does the second segment of the paper use language from Herzog and Pollan to consider whether the practices of Polyface Farm can resolve any of the ethical questions raised in the first segment? Does the student-writer go beyond the gist when using sources? How well are borrowed ideas integrated into a line of thought controlled by the student-writer? Is the student-writer using TRIAC and Barclay’s formula to make connections? Does the student-writer use signal phrases, voice markers, and parenthetical references to distinguish other writers’ ideas from his or her own? Would a reader unfamiliar with our sources be able to understand what’s distinctive about Polyface Farm and see the connection back to the problems raised in the first segment of the paper?
  • How well does the last section of the paper build from ideas earlier in the paper to present the student-writer’s own thoughts about the ethics of eating and the challenges of eating more ethically? To what degree are the key ideas and phrases developed in earlier segments used in this one? Would a reader be able to see and understand the connection between this segment of the paper and the other two?
  • How well does the student-writer use pivotal words to connect sentences to one another within paragraphs? How well is the student-writer connecting paragraphs together into multi-paragraph segments?
  • Is there a compelling title and a mostly correct Works Cited page?

A good comment will:

  • Be generous and considerate in tone;
  • Describe what you see or think as a reader, leading to a diagnosis of a problem or description of an improvement to be made;
  • Suggest a specific strategy for improvement;
  • Provide additional insight by: asking leading questions, providing  further detail, suggesting specific materials for inclusion, or engaging in dialogue with the writer.
  • Indicate whether this is a high-, medium-, or low-priority issue.

In an end comment, write some sentences that give the writer an idea of your overall impression or general effect of the paper.  If you can, explain the central insight you have gotten from the paper as a careful reader.  Make suggestions about what improvements the writer should prioritize as s/he continues to develop his or her paper’s argument in global revision.