Why Peer Editing is the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread


In college you will be writing a lot. It doesn’t matter what you’re studying, it could be a major in

basket weaving, medieval archery, or even theoretical physics, you will be writing. The process

of writing can be long and strenuous. For a large term paper, you will go through multiple drafts.

Why not cut down on some of that time? Well, my good madams and sirs, I have a solution: Peer

Editing.

 

Peer editing is the process of taking your writing and having other people look at it to suggest

changes and edits. Pretty simple, right? When you get outside feedback it will highlight errors

and changes in your writing that you might not have noticed until your 100th draft or even at all.

Additionally, when you peer edit another person’s work, it will also improve your own writing.

You will gain new ideas and thoughts on how to make your writing better.

 

Now, you may be asking yourself, “How do I peer edit something? I’m not good at writing.”

That’s nonsense, anyone can peer review. When you peer edit another person’s paper, ask

yourself a few questions. “What is the paper about?”,” What is the argument?”, “Where is the

thesis?” “Does the paper have a definite beginning, middle, and end?” After that, read the paper.

Are you able to answer these questions? Is everything clear to you? If not, talk to the writer

about it. You may have found a glaring error that they couldn’t see.

 

In another regard, it can sometimes be difficult receiving criticism on your paper when you’re in

a peer review session. That’s okay and is completely normal. Take all of the comments with an

open mind and try to look at the feedback you’re getting from the other person’s own

perspective. It will give you context and make it seem less like a personal attack. Additionally,

you don’t have to take every single piece of advice you receive from your peers during a peer

editing session. If the feedback you get doesn’t mold well with your vision of the paper or

changes the meaning of your ideas, it’s okay not to make the change. At the end of the day it is

your paper, and not anyone else’s.

 

Alright, so you know what peer editing is, what to do, and how to get the most out it. Now,

where can you go to have this awesome experience? There are a few options. First, you can have

your classmates in your courses look at it. I have found most students are pretty open to doing

this, even if you don’t know the student personally. Second, you can go to your instructor’s

office hours. Third, you can have your roommate or friend look at it. Lastly, you can go to your

school’s writing center and have a tutor give you some thoughts on your paper. Any of these

options will do and will for sure help you get more out of your writing.

 

– written by Thomas Whitaker

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