English: Revision and Peer Review

Title: How many peer reviewers does it take to revise a thesis?
Discipline(s) or Field(s):
English
Authors: Terry Beck, Susan Crutchfield, Bryan Kopp, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Submission Date:
April 2, 2004

Our goals:

  • Help students revise their essays—particularly their thesis statements—through critical thinking and rhetorical understanding
  • Encourage critical conversations between students as writers/readers
  • Foster an awareness that writing involves the discovery and development of ideas, involving learning for writers/readers

The “Lesson”

  • “Workshop groups”—a small group of students meets with the instructor to discuss the work in progress
  • Workshop focus is finding and discussing main idea of the draft.
  • Given the recursiveness of writing and individual differences among students, it is challenging to design a lesson about a discrete writing issue.
  • Qualitative research (no lab coats)

Preliminary Findings

  • The students with the highest abilities seemed to benefit most from the process.
  • “Average” students were not engaging in critical conversations and revising their papers to the extent we had hoped.
  • Students were struggling with the subject matter itself as well as how to write about it.

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