Peer Review Tips
Has a peer or coworker asked you to review or critique their writing? Or maybe it’s the other way around—instead, you’re asking someone else for their feedback on your work.
Peer reviews can be daunting, but they don’t have to be! They’re a valuable chance to get a different perspective and develop a piece of writing into the best version of itself.
Whether you’re reviewing or being reviewed, here are some tips to give and receive helpful, constructive feedback.
Tips for the Peer Reviewer
Don’t take over. Remember you are there to help with a review and edit, not to rewrite it in your own voice.
Use track changes. It is useful for the writer to see the changes and determine how to use the edits.
Read things more than once and aloud, if possible. Sometimes, you need to read it a few times or hear it spoken to understand the cadence or tone.
Ask questions instead of making statements. Try saying, “Did you mean to say…” instead of “That doesn’t make sense.” Some other phrases that make the feedback easier to read include “I wonder if…” or “Could we consider…”.
Give a reason for larger changes. For example, you could say, “I would do it this way because this would create a parallel sentence construction in the bullets of this section."
Work to your strengths. Are you a grammar guru? Good at concise writing? Have a high level of technical expertise? Focus your review on how you can best contribute.
Pay attention to tone. Don't be a jerk or patronizing in your comments. Negativity can make the process more stressful. Remember, it takes courage to let others read your work, even if it's for work.
Point out what's good, not just what's bad. We often get so focused on looking for areas to improve that we accidentally forget to point out the parts that we like or that work.
Use it as a learning opportunity. Look for what you can learn from reading different approaches to the topic. Pay attention to recurring questions and comments in your own and others’ writing.
Tips for the Writer
Take a deep breath. It can be hard to have your work reviewed, especially if there are a lot of changes. But this process can be a valuable learning opportunity. The more you write, the better you will get at it.
Start with the easy changes. Accept the corrections or changes that make the most sense first, so you can ease into editing your document.
Ask follow-up questions. You don’t need to accept all changes without clarification. Talk to the reviewer if the feedback is unclear to make sure you both understand how best to adjust the writing.
Consider your knowledge. When going through the feedback, there may be corrections or suggestions that are incorrect if your reviewer doesn’t have the same expertise.
Manage conflicting reviews. With multiple reviewers, there may be conflicting advice. As the writer, you can make the final decisions about clarity and style.
Looking for a professional peer review? Our team is ready to give feedback on any of your business documentation needs. Contact us for a consultation.