Peer Response for
Research Project Part I: Sources, Quotations, Planning, Thesis
Again, the goal here is both to provide you with feedback on your work and allow you to see how your peers have tackled the assignment.
I will again divide the class into peer response groups, each consisting of three or four people. You will exchange documents in class. Then, before the next class, you will type a response to each of your peers’ projects in which you will address the following questions:

1.  Does your peer have all of the required quotations from the different categories of secondary sources? Do all the quotations appear relevant to your peer’s topic and thesis? Are all the quotations labeled accurately in terms of type? Remember that type 1 quotations express some kind of critical thinking (such as evaluation, statement of cause and effect, comparison, or other analytical judgment); they are not just facts. Type 2 quotations are proprietary facts, meaning that they result from a particular source’s efforts; they are not just general knowledge. Type 2 quotations are useful, but one does not extend, apply, or rebut them; one uses them as grounds.


2. Are the quotations clear out of context, or does your peer set the quotations up in such a way that he or she makes them clear? Is each the proper length? At this stage, the tendency is to quote more than one needs to. Can any of them be shortened without losing the essential point your peer is trying to make?


3.  Your peer should announce whether he or she plans to extend, apply, or rebut each of the Type 1 quotations, then explain how he or she plans to do so. When your peer plans to extend a quotation’s argument, you should clearly see the logical connection between the quotation and the point your peer is trying to make. When your peer plans to apply a quotation’s argument, the relevance of the quotation to the evidence being considered should be apparent. When your peer rebuts a quotation’s argument, whether in whole or in part, consider whether he or she is making a logical rebuttal, one that argues for a flaw in the reasoning (or in Toulmin terms the warrant), or an evidentiary rebuttal, one that argues either that the evidence (in Toulmin terms the grounds) is flawed, or more often that the source ignores contrary evidence. Examine these planned arguments and discuss any that seem problematic. 

4. Identify any particular technical mistakes — these include grammar, spelling, wordiness, convention, and error list errors — that you notice in the thesis or the descriptions of how your peer plans to use the quotations, especially if the writer makes them repeatedly. Are there any sentences that you could not understand, or that you had to re-read several times to understand because they were confusingly written?

5. This assignment involves a great deal of formatting. Examine the quotations (including any set-off quotations) and parenthetical citations, as well as the format of the works cited or references page and all of its individual entries. You will find it easier to point out these errors in class during the peer response session, so you should not need to devote much of your typed response to these issues; a brief note should be sufficient. This is one time when making corrections on the document itself makes sense, but don’t go crazy: marking any type of error more than once is a waste of time.


Write your responses directly to your peers, not to a third party. Say “The connection between this quotation and your thesis is not clear,” not “The connection between this quotation and her thesis is not clear.”

Do not respond to each question separately, and do not number your responses. Try to move generally from more substantive issues to more technical ones, rather than proceeding sequentially through the bibliography. You need not answer every one of these questions. Give your attention where it is needed, and use paragraphing to give your response cohesion. Writing responses as all one paragraph is always a bad sign.

Make sure that no more than 1/3 of your response focuses on grammatical, stylistic, and formatting problems.

Length and other Requirements

The responses should be at least 400 words each (not including any quotations from your peer’s assignment). Please put the word count with and without quotations at the bottom of each response.

You must bring two copies of each response with you to class (and be on time — see below).


Your peer responses will be judged on your thoughtfulness, the perceptiveness of your comments, and your organization and sense of priority; your complete set of responses will receive a single holistic grade (A+ to F). If a peer gives you an incomplete draft, you should still respond to the best of your ability, but of course I will not penalize you if you cannot meet the length requirement when responding to a short draft (within reason, of course — if your peer’s draft is missing one or two quotations, you should still manage meet the requirement without much trouble).

Part of the benefit your peers receive comes from reading your work. Failing to provide a complete draft to your peers will result in a penalty of 10-50% to your peer response grade, depending on the degree of incompletion.

An important part of the peer response process is the discussion that occurs in class. Missing the class in which a peer response session takes place will result in a 30% penalty to your peer response grade. Arriving late for a peer response session is also unacceptable and will affect your participation score for the day.

Penalties are cumulative.

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