Peer Editing Worksheet for Phil Law

Peer Editing Worksheet


Reviewer:________________________Author of the Essay:____________________________
A Note on Doing Peer Editing: You should treat doing peer review like you’re reading what your worst enemy just wrote in a Facebook comment. Your job is to point out all the mistakes and weaknesses (except, of course, in this context say it in a nice way). You are doing your peer a favor by pointing out problems and a disservice by failing to do so. The more things they can correct and strengthen before turning in their paper, the better their paper will be, and the better their chances of getting a good grade. DO NOT BE SHY ABOUT CRITICIZING…however, don’t forget that it’s possible to be both critical and kind. Think about the tone you’d like someone to use to point out areas for improvement in your paper and do that!

How I Grade Peer Editing: First, I look for completeness. Did the reviewer complete each part of the review. For each incomplete or poorly completed portion, the reviewer loses points. Next, as I read the paper I’m looking for problems. For each problem I find in the final paper that you didn’t catch in the peer review, you lose points for the peer review. If you did catch the problem but the author doesn’t address it in the final draft, the author loses points from their responsiveness score.

Where indicated on the peer editing sheet, you should give each section a score out of 10. 10/10=You should be teaching this class. 9/10=I don’t see any problems or any way to improve this, maybe the teacher knows but I don’t. 8/10=You fulfilled the requirement but there are ways to make it better. 7/10=You met the minimum requirement but this needs to either be completely rewritten or substantially revised. 6/10=You should probably to start this section from scratch. 5/10=Stand in the corner facing the wall.

Any score below 9 should have specific comments on how to improve or at least an explanation what the problem is. “Add more facts” is not specific. Explain what the problem in a way that is specific enough for the author to be able to identify it and fix it.
I. Intro Paragraph. Score Everything out of 10

1. Does the introduction to the issue make you interested or care? Score:



2. Does the introduction make clear what the core issue is? Score:


3. What is the thesis statement? (Write it below) Is the thesis statement written in a way that’s intelligible? Score:







4. From the thesis statement is it clear what position the author will take on the issue and how they will support their position? Hint: Here’s a good structure, “In this paper, I argue X because Y.” Score:







5. Is there a clear outline/roadmap? I.e., Without reading beyond the roadmap, how clear the content and order of the main sections of the paper? Score:




6. Are there any awkward sentences or transitions in the into section? Please indicate them on the draft so they can be rewritten. (Underline the sentence and write AWK)




II. General
For EACH paragraph:
Clarity: As you go through the paper, underline and write AWK next to any sentence that you had to read twice to understand or has awkward wording that should be improved.
Structure 1: Each topic sentence (i.e., the first sentence of each paragraph) should indicate what the rest of the paragraph is about. On the draft, next to the topic sentence of each paragraph give it a score out of 10 for how well it captures the content of the paragraph.
Structure 2: Does the paper follow the 1 idea=1 paragraph rule? Or are there several main ideas a paragraph? Indicate any places where a paragraph might be broken into smaller ones.
Structure 3: Does each major section of the paper have a heading? If not, note in the draft where headings would be helpful to the reader.
Flow: For each paragraph indicate any places where it’s not clear how one thought connects to the next. (This applies both within paragraphs and between paragraphs). That is, if you’re struggling to follow how ideas within or between paragraphs relate, make a note in the relevant place on the draft.
Exposition Section: Quotes and Support: When explaining an author’s view (E.g., Scalia’s or Dworkin’s) it’s important to use direct quotes to show that you’re not putting words in someone’s mouth. For each important claim attributed to an author (use your judgment), does the paper provide appropriate textual evidence or support for the position being attributed to the author in question? Also, quotes that are used in this way should be interpreted by the author in their own words. For example,

Philosopher X argues that P because “[quote from original text].” In other words, Philosopher X supports P because [put the quote in your own words here].

Make sure that:
For any major points attributed to an philosopher’s view there is textual evidence to show that the author actually holds this view.
The author of this paper interprets in their own words what the quoted philosopher means.
III. Argumentative Section

Comparisons: Circle any comparisons. Is the author comparing like with like? E.g., costs of A to costs of B, benefits of A to benefits of B, net benefits of A to net benefits of B. Indicate if the author makes illegitimate comparisons: E.g., costs of A to benefits of B, etc…

Support for controversial claims:
In this section, circle any claims the author makes that you think a general audience would NOT accept without further argument or evidence.
Does the author provide appropriate argument or evidence for their controversial claims? Indicate on the draft if evidence/better evidence is needed.
A. Statement of The Author’s Position on the Issue:
Is the author’s position on the issue clear? Score out of 10.



Is the author’s justification for their position clear? Can you easily identify the reasons and arguments the author uses to support their position? If not, explain here. Score out of 10.





Are the reasons, evidence, arguments the author uses weakly, moderately, or strongly persuasive? Test: Would someone who disagrees with the author’s position find the reasons, evidence, and arguments persuasive? If they aren’t persuasive, indicate which ones aren’t and remedies (if possible). Score out of 10.



Are the reasons and evidence used to justify the author’s position relevant to the issue? That is, is there a strong logical connection between the evidence/reasons and the conclusion being true? If not, indicate. Score out of 10.



Strength of Inference
Does the author explain how the reasons support their position on the issue or is the reader left to figure out the inferences themselves? That is, does the author make explicit how their reasons and evidence support their thesis or as the reader are you left to try to figure that out on your own. Score out of 10




B. The Counter-Arguments/Objections
Is the counter-argument/objection clearly stated? Score out of 10.




Is the counter-argument strong or weak? I.e., At first glance, could this be a genuine problem for the author’s view? Score out of 10?


Does the author clearly explain how the counter-argument potentially undermines the author’s position or is the reader left to figure that out on their own? Explain if it’s unclear. Score out of 10



C. The Reply to the Counter-Arguments
Is the reply clearly stated and easy to understand? I.e., Could you easily restate in your own words what the reply is? Score out of 10



Does the author explain the logical connection for how the reply undermines or defuses the counter-argument? Score out of 10

How persuasive is the author’s reply to the objection. I.e., Do they provide good evidence and or arguments to support their reply/undermine the counter-argument? Hint: Would the opponent to their view possibly change their view/concede the objection? Score out of 10.




IV. Overall:
List the top 3 specific things the author could do to improve the paper.  (“Add more facts” or “add more arguments” is not specific).






Does the paper contain any novel or creative ideas?






How likely is it that this paper would persuade someone who wasn’t already sympathetic to the author’s position?