Peer review—one version

In semesters past, I’ve done a variety of peer review techniques: small groups, one-on-one conversation, written feedback. With students consistently preferring the written feedback, about 3 semesters ago I began using only that.

I’ve also found that if students are working on separate projects but with common sources, the feedback is better. Today, for example, my FYC students have brought in drafts of their analysis of a single source. But the class is divided into three groups, each analyzing a different source. However, we’ve all read, worked with, and are familiar with all three sources. So today the folks who wrote analyses of Steven Johnson’s article are reading the analyses of students who were assigned Jamais Cascio’s piece; those who wrote analyses of Cascio are reading the analyses of students who were assigned Nicolas Carr; and so forth. They are not peer reviewing papers that responded to their own prompt, and that removes all student concerns about someone else pilfering their good ideas. This makes peer review purely magical.

And here’s the direction sheet I gave them:

Peer response to analysis drafts

  1. Don’t write on the paper you are reviewing

2. Open an email; address it to the writer; copy it to me (REHOWARD@SYR.EDU)

3. Take up the role of coach

4. Analyze the draft you are reading for these rhetorical concerns we’ve been tracking:
(a) How does this draft construct its audience, and how might it do so better?
(b) How effectively does word choice convey its message?
(c) As you read the draft, what do you see as its thesis? Copy it into your email. What advice do you have for revising that thesis?
(d) As you read the draft, what do you see as its evidence? List it in your email. What advice do you have for improving that evidence?
(e) As you read the draft, what do you see as its counterevidence? List it in your email. What advice do you have for improving that counterevidence?
(f) Where do you see the writer making logos-based rhetorical appeals? How effective are they? What suggestions for revision do you have?
(g) Where do you see the writer making pathos-based rhetorical appeals? How appropriate are they? What suggestions for revision do you have?
(h) As you read this draft, how authoritative does the writer sound—what sort of ethos does s/he project? What suggestions for revision do you have?
(i) What additional comments or advice do you have for the writer?

5. Send the email. Put the draft you’ve been reading on the bottom of the stack, and take another classmate’s paper off the top of the stack.

 

 

Course description, “Mixed Methods Research in Composition and Rhetoric”

CCR 635
Mixed Methods Research in Composition and Rhetoric
Rebecca Moore Howard
Syracuse University
Spring 2014

The catalog description for this course says it “[s]urveys research methods and methodologies. Focuses on reading research rhetorically, crafting researchable questions, and designing research studies.” In this outing of CCR 635, we’ll begin with that survey and then move  quickly to a project-based course in which we will address a curricular issue from the SU undergraduate writing program . As we examine that issue, we’ll develop research questions and the tools needed to answer them, choosing from ethnographic, archival, hermeneutic, and data-driven research methods. In pursuit of answers to our research questions, each student will read about, implement, and teach the rest of the class about a single research method, and everyone will learn how to code research data. The class will conduct pilot research for the projects we’ve designed, to test and hone those methods. At the conclusion of the semester, we will collaborate on a report of our work to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. We will be attentive, too, to possibilities for bringing our research to closure and publishing the results. The final project for each student will be to draft part or all of a hypothetical or real dissertation prospectus, focusing on the methods statement.