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Laura Heffernan's Peer Review Guidelines

Peer Review Guidelines

by Laura Heffernan


Does the title set an appropriate tone for the paper?  Is it general enough to suggest the scope of the topic, but specific enough to interest the reader?

Does the intro paragraph win the reader's interest?  Does the paragraph move from a general proposition to the specific statement of an argument?  Does it stall before getting to the main point?

Does the paper engage in plot summary?  Is there any point where the paper tends to fall from the level of analysis to the level of observation?

Does each paragraph have a main idea?  Does each paragraph begin with a clear and general opening and move through specific points to a strong conclusion?

Are the paragraph connected well with transitions?  Do they combine to progress through an argument?  Does each paragraph/point logically follow from the previous one?

Are the sentence lengths varied?

Are quotations incorporated well?  Are they introduced within the sentence?  Are all quotations used subsequently analyzed?  Can large quotations be reduced in size down to the essential minimum needed for the argument?

Does the paper use language that says precisely what it means?  Does the paper contain empty words or phrases like "thing" and "aspect"?  Does it use two adjectives where one would do?  Does it avoid cliché?

Does the paper use passive voice at all?  Does the paper avoid this construction:
 "One of the (examples of, scenes in which) is __________"?

Can you cut any words to make the language more precise?

Does the concluding paragraph do more than restate the opening?  Does the conclusion close the argument made within the range of the paper, while also opening it to questions outside the scope of the paper?  In other words, does the concluding paragraph  recontextualize the essay, moving from specific details and concerns to their larger, more general implications?

Are you convinced that the writer believes what s/he is arguing?

Do you see anything (from the film/novel in question) that the writer does not deal with that could be used to complicate or refine his/her thesis?

Finally, what does this paper do well?