3 Mar 2017

In-class peer review

Literature Discussion

Submitted by S. Chantal E. Stieber, Cal Poly Pomona
Categories
Description: 

This activity includes questions for students to answer to help guide them through the process of peer review. It was designed to assist students in writing peer reviews for research reports written by their classmates, but could be applied to literature articles as well.

Learning Goals: 

A student will be able to:

-Explain how the peer-review process works

-Critically read through a research article

-Carefully review a research article

-Write a professional peer review

Implementation Notes: 

An overview of peer review was given with three powerpoint slides. Students then worked through a modified Q&A of the peer review module "Peer Review - How does it work?" posted by Michael Norris on VIPEr. This provided students with an example of real reviews, along with the resulting article revisions. 

The current worksheet was then passed out to students along with a research report written by one of their classmates (I assigned these and removed names). In class, students answered the questions on the worksheet and were able to ask questions of the editor (the instructor in this case). Following the in-class peer review, students had to write a formal peer review, which was turned in as homework. 

The peer review was a final component of a research report that students had been working on throughout the course. The final report was turned in after students had received the review comments back from their peers. The grade of the final report took into consideration whether or not students had made modifications based on comments by their peer reviewer.

 
Time Required: 
60 min
Evaluation
Evaluation Methods: 

Student participation was evaluated during the in-class portion based on the questions students asked. 

The formal peer review homework was evaluated based on completion, level of thought and thoroughness.

Evaluation Results: 

Overall, students were very interested in this topic and had not formally learned about the process before. There was a very lively discussion and a lot of questions were asked. All students received full credit for participation. 

Similarly, once students received their classmate's paper for peer review, they took the process very seriously and carefully went through the paper and answered the worksheet questions. 

I was very impressed by the high quality of the formal peer reviews that were turned in as homework. Students clearly spent a lot of time to carefully think about the paper and craft a reasonable response. Most students received full-credit. 

Creative Commons License: 
Creative Commons Licence

Comments

Nice LO, thanks for sharing!

I have incorporated peer review of a lab report in my junior-level inorganic chemistry lab for a few years now, and I have a few guiding questions that I use for this activity. There may be a few that are complementary to those in your worksheet, so I will post them below. If there is any interest, I can add my peer review prompt/activity as a separate LO and post a link here. 

Cheers,

Brad

 

Use the guiding questions below as you conduct your initial read through the report:

  • Does the author frame the report in an appropriate historical context? 
  • Are there citations from the literature, or other evidence of background research? Are citations given using the appropriate format (see ACS style guide, or any recent JACS paper)?
  • Does the author describe the experiment in a clear and concise fashion? Are details missing? Was any aspect of the procedure altered?
  • What difficulties or unexpected data were encountered by the author? Are these issues/findings commented upon? Does the author make an attempt to explain the origin of any unusual or unexpected findings?
  • Does the author include all spectroscopic data in tabulated form? Are figures included to assist in explaining spectral features?
  • Are experimental errors (either systematic or random) mentioned? Are the magnitude and likely effect of any such errors discussed?
  • Is there a concluding statement or section? Are future experiments suggested? 
  • Does the text read smoothly? Does the author begin with general statements, building to more specific points related to the experiment that was conducted?
  • Is the writing “too flowery” or “choppy”?
  • Are there grammatical or typographical errors? If so, are they of such density as to muddle the discussion and distract the reader?

Thanks for the additional ideas for questions! I would certainly be interested in the activity/prompt you do in your classes. 

I've now incorporated this module into a peer review session for literature reviews that the students wrote as well. 

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