Critical thinking is one of the main features of academic culture. This skill includes a lot of elements such as an ability to review and critically evaluate someone else’s work. Usually, criticizing is understood in a negative meaning, but talking about academic criticizing, it covers such abilities as definition of controversies, analysis, discussing and evaluation, perfoming a review where one needs to specify his/her personal opinion about the paper read.
Peer Review: Main Elements
Peer review assignments come quite often. Reading the works of other scientists, young scientists learn from the mistakes of others and better see the weak and strong sides of their own works.
The purpose of the assignment is the development of reviewing and evaluation skills.
The tasks of the paper are to review the paper written by a peer, write a short report about the analysis carried out, find the good techniques that can be used in their own work, define the weak sides and offer the ways for improvement.
The format of the review: if it is not required to be anonymous, indicate your last name, the last name of the author (if it is available), and the title of the work reviewed.
Things to Pay Attention to
While reading a work written by a peer, try to include constructive thoughts, not only criticizing. Remember that analysis is about finding both: positive and negative sides, so you should look at the paper from both perspectives. To perform the required tasks, we offer you answering the following questions:
- Does the work given for a review have all the necessary elements to identify the author, as well as do you see enough information about the topic of the essay? Did the writer managed to fit to the required volume of the paper?
- What would be the general evaluation of the topic: is it interesting for you or for a certain audience, and if yes, what in particular makes it interesting? Is it actual for the science and practice, may you offer your personal argument pro its actuality? Does the work itself have the argumentation of the actuality and importance of the issues covered? Is the topic relevant to the subject or specialty it refers to?
- Do the content and the topic correspond? Is the paper well-structured? Are there the clearly defined tasks that are being solved in the course of writing? Were the tasks accomplished? Are there constructive conclusions? Do they have efficient arguments (theoretical and empirical data)? Does the text have real-life examples, and how are they relevant? What did you like the most and the least? What would you suggest to the writer?
- How well the writer managed to solve the set task? Are the approaches clearly classified, based on what features it is possible to determine them, what aspects of the topic in particular help to apply the approaches used? How coherent is the text from the point of using sources and quotes? What can you learn from the work reviewed? Do you have any recommendations about sources or specifications about their formatting?
- How easy-to-read is the text? What would be your suggestions to the writer to make the text smoother, if you feel that there are places worth improvement? What did you like in terms of structure, logics of delivery?
- Did you feel the presence and the point of view of the author in the text? What would you advise to the writer? (Pay attention to the fact that academic texts are very personal, and even though they have restrictions in terms of language to be used, the personality of writer is to be felt and his/her scientific view is to be clear and well-supported. Without these elements, the text will be useless)
- What would be your general conclusion about the text reviewed?