Peer Review Sheet for Bioethics

Peer Review Worksheet

Reviewer:________________________Author of the Essay:____________________________

A Note on Doing Peer Review: 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 the 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 Review: 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 review sheet, you should give 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 Ami 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. S

For full points on your peer review score, any score below 9 should have comments on how to improve or at least what the problem is.

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)

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? I.e., Without reading beyond the roadmap, how clear is your idea of the content and order of the main steps to defend the thesis? 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Structure 3: Does each major section have a heading? If not, note in the draft where headings would be helpful to the reader.
  5. 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).
  6. Exposition Section: Support: For each important claim (use your judgment), does the paper provide appropriate textual evidence or support for the position being attributed to the author in question?
  7. Technical Terms: Circle each technical term (i.e., any term that someone who hasn’t taken the course probably wouldn’t have a clear understanding of). Each must be explained/defined. If they aren’t or aren’t explained clearly, note this on the paper.
  8. Quotes: Underline any direct quotes. Direct quotes must be interpreted/explained to the reader. Note on the draft if they aren’t interpreted/explained.

III. Argumentative Sections (c, d, e)


  1. 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…
  2. Support for controversial claims:
    1. Circle any claims the author makes that you think a general audience would NOT accept without further argument or evidence.
    2. Does the author provide appropriate argument or evidence for their controversial claims? Indicate on the draft if evidence/better evidence is needed.

Statement of The Author’s Position on the Issue: Section (c)

  1. Is the author’s position on the issue clear? Score out of 10. 
  2. Is the author’s justification for their position clear? I.e., Is it well-supported with evidence and reasons or is it simple naked assertions? Would someone who doesn’t already hold the view be persuaded? Score out of 10. 
  3. 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? Score out of 10. 
  4. Does the author explain how the reasons support their position on the issue or is the reader left to figure out the inferences themselves? Score out of 10 

The Counter-Arguments: Section (d)

  1. Is the counter-argument clearly stated? Score out of 10. 
  2. Is the counter-argument strong or weak? Score out of 10? 
  3. Does the author explain how the counter-argument potentially undermines the author’s position? If so, is the logical connection clear? Score out of 10

The Reply to the Counter-Arguments: Section (e)

  1. Is the reply clearly stated and easy to understand? Score out of 10 
  2. Does the author explain the logical connection for how the reply undermines or defuses the counter-argument? Score out of 10 
  3. Does the author justify their main position in their reply. I.e., do they provide evidence and or arguments to support their reply/undermine the counter-argument? Score out of 10.


  1. List the top 3 specific things the author could do to improve the paper.

  2. Does the paper contain any novel or creative ideas?