Submitted by Shirley Lin / United States Naval Academy on Thu, 01/07/2021 - 13:01
Additional Authors
My Notes
Description

This multi-part LO is a hybrid consisting of an in-class activity and a literature discussion. It utilizes the article "How to Review a Paper" by Igor V. Alabugin, ACS Chemical Health & Safety, https://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.chas.0c00107.

The LO consists of 3 parts. Part 1 could be used as a stand-alone in a lecture or laboratory course. Parts 2 and 3 are designed to be implemented in a laboratory course. Instructors should feel free to use one or multiple parts in any order that best fits the learning goals for their course.

Part 1: a group literature discussion about how to write a professional, appropriate peer review

Part 2: a template for students to self-review a laboratory submission that they are preparing based upon the criteria for a well-written and logically organized article as delineated in the article

Part 3: a template for students to use to review a peer's laboratory submission

Learning Goals

After completing Part 1, students will be able to:

  • identify the sections of a journal article
  • describe the content that should appear in the different sections of a journal article
  • evaluate the presence/absence and quality of key points that should appear in each section of a journal article by conducting a self-assessment of their own laboratory submission

After completing Part 2, students will be able to:

  • describe a process for writing a professional, high-quality peer review
  • explain the importance of specificity and helpful critiques when writing a high-quality peer review

After completing Part 3, students will be able to:

  • write a professional, high-quality peer review for a peer's laboratory submission

 

Equipment needs

A classroom space that is set up for students to work together in small groups may be advantageous.

Implementation Notes

Part 1: Peer-review Literature Discussion (standalone assignment or can be used prior to or after some report-writing experience)

Prior to coming to class, students should review the article with particular attention given to the sections “Before You Write,” “Write Your Review,” “A Few General Points about Writing Your Review,” and “Ethical and Diversity Issues.” Instructors may wish to give students the guiding questions at this time or the guiding questions could be presented in-class as a worksheet. Some questions may be answered directly from content in the article. Other questions are written such as to encourage discussion in small groups.

Part 2: Self-Review Activity (early in the semester and they begin to write reports or individual report sections)

The implementation of this activity will vary based on the level of students in your course

  • Consider completing the template on your own as an example for students showing them what level of response you would expect to see in their submissions (see Assignment in this section)

Prior to writing their first report/report section:

  • Under Evaluating the Manuscript”, ask students to read the text that specifically discusses each section of a manuscript (page C) prior to writing their first report
    • Can assign specific sections of the article (Intro, Results, etc…) if they are only writing a portion of the report and subsequent sections as they continue throughout the semester

Assignment:

  • Have students write their report/report section
  • Evaluate their own work using the provided template
    • Remove or edit template sections that do not match the writing assignment or to align with your report expectations (i.e. Combine “Results” and “Discussion” sections into a single “Results and Discussion”)
    • Can switch out  “Supporting Information” for “Methods Section”
  • Students will turn in their completed template along with their report/report section
    • Consider making the completed template worth a few points for a quality submission
    • Instructor can choose a well-written report from a previous semester and complete the template showing high-quality reflection (including specific evidence from writing to support the reflection) and poor-quality reflection (“it’s good/bad”)
      • Using the same report to complete both reflections help students focus on the reflection piece, not the report itself

Part 3: Peer Review Activity

  • Be sure to plan enough time for students to complete a quality review
    • They have other commitments/assignments and are inexperienced reviewers so it may take longer than we would expect
    • Instructors could choose to distribute reports ahead of class (~1 week) to give students the chance to read through the report multiple times and take thorough notes.  In-class time could then be used for students to complete their reviews and have discussions with one another (depending on the review process- see below)
    • Instructors could choose to dedicate the class time to the initial/second stage having students read through and take thorough notes and then complete the final review at home
  • Review process
    • Decide on whether you would like a double-blind, single-blind, or completely known review process- this could change based on size of class, how well the students know each other, etc... 
    • Note from MP: I have always provided my students with copies of the peer reviews completed for their report.  They are then able to use the reviews to revise their assignment before turning in the final report.  This can work regardless of which style of review process your choose.
  • Stress that nothing in their review will be used to decide the grade of the report they are reviewing (note from MP: when I have used peer review in the past, student were very concerned that if they pointed out errors/weaknesses in their peer’s report, it would negatively impact their peer’s grade- it made them hesitant to give anything but praise, which is not overly helpful)
    • Consider offering some points to the student for completing a quality review using a satisfactory/unsatisfactory or holistic rubric, completely separate from the report they are reviewing
  • We chose to remove the “reject” option from the final recommendation options
Time Required
variable: each part of the activity could be started in class and finished outside of class. Part 1: start in class (15 minutes); Part 2: completed in class (45 minutes); Part 3: start in class (15 minutes)

Evaluation

Evaluation Methods

Part 1: Peer-review Literature Discussion

Consider collecting answers to guiding questions, individually and/or for each small group. Responses could be graded using the provided key or just for completeness/effort.

Part 2: Self-Review Activity

  • As noted above, the implementation will differ based on level of the course, learning outcomes, and enrollment numbers. Below are some options for assessment using the completed template to encourage student reflection and development
  • Holistic rubric
    • Completed template can be assessed using a simple satisfactory/unsatisfactory rubric such as the example below, or a short, holistic rubric (excellent, good, developing)
 

Satisfactory

Unsatisfactory

Completed sections

All sections are addressed

Sections missing or are incomplete

Questions addressed

Evaluation addresses the bullet points in each of the template sections

Evaluations are generic (“good”) without demonstrating the student has considered the questions asked in each section

Evidence provided

Responses provide specific examples from the report to support the evaluation

Evaluations are not supported with any examples from the report


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  • Individual discussions with students
    • In a smaller class, this activity could provide a starting point for one-on-one discussions to provide feedback about their writing and how to evaluate their writing
    • In larger courses, students could be asked to meet with their lab TA or the instructor/TA could meet with students in small groups instead of individually
  • In-class walk-through
    • The instructor can find a well done template and, after getting permission from a student (and removing their name), the instructor could select a single section of the report and walk through the section and the completed template with the class, providing feedback on why the reflection provided by the student was helpful
    • After running this activity once, you could also select excellent/poor completed templates from the previous semester and walk through them with students prior to them doing this activity

Part 3: Peer Review Activity

  • Stress that nothing in their review will be used to decide the grade of the report they are reviewing (note from MP: when I have used peer review in the past, student were very concerned that if they pointed out errors/weaknesses in their peer’s report, it would negatively impact their peer’s grade- it made them hesitant to give anything but praise, which is not overly helpful)
    • Consider offering some points to the student for completing a quality review, completely separate from the report they are reviewing
Evaluation Results

This LO has not yet been implemented but evaluation notes will be added by the authors later.

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