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
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