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Oct 13

Page history last edited by mike 11 years, 1 month ago

Suggestions for Project Two Peer Reviews


As readers of each other's work, be aware of the most common problems with final drafts of Project Two, inadequate attention to the following five issues:


I. The thesis - much like our last project, Project Two is largely driven by its thesis. Having a strong thesis statement (such as one that uses the "skeletal structure" we've covered in class) will  make it easier for you as a writer to keep your argument organized and for your readers to follow your argument's structure.


II. Support sentences/paragraphs -  even with a solid thesis, it is sometimes easy to take the "proof" of that thesis for granted. The intro paragraph(s) of your project will provide context and forward the thesis. The rest of the essay will be devoted almost entirely to supporting that thesis (i.e., if your thesis identifies X, Y, and Z rhetorical techniques in the work you are analyzing, then you might have 1-2 paragraphs each devoted to explaining X, Y, and Z). As mentioned in class, don't forget the "third" step in process: even after you have identified strategies, and provided examples of strategies, you still need to tell the reader why the example/strategy under review is particularly compelling (how is it different than other ways the point is/could be addressed? Why did you focus on this example in particular? Is it better than others? Is it a particulary novel or "fresh" approach to the argument/topic being discussed?)


III. An analytical tone -  because you probably liked or disliked the piece you read to varying degrees, and it likely provided information about a topic that you were unaware of, it might be tempting to devote too much time talking about what you found (un)appealing in general terms (rather than as part of an analysis of the rhetorical strategies of the author/work) and/or neglecting analysis of the work's argumentation style in favor of spending more time summarizing the book's contents; if you trend too much toward these more general responses to/descriptions of the work, it will read more like a book review than a rhetorical analysis. 



IV. Citations and examples -  in a project like this, it is important that you provide ample evidence to back up your claims and to demonstrate the style/strategy of the writer. Thus, reference to the text - via quotations and or paraphrasing - are essential.



V. The exigence of the piece and its audience -  in order for you (and your reader) to understand the purpose of the work under review (and, more specifically, the rhetorical chocies of it's author), adequate context must be part of your rhetorical analysis (i.e., you need to consider why the piece is being written, what issue or concern it is responding to, whether it is for or against related ideas and arguments, and what audience in particular it is attempting address or persuade).


Asking for feedback: two ways to solicit helpful feedback


One way of doing this is to ask for Criterion-Based Feedback


The piece of writing itself will suggest certain of its own criteria, usually depending on function (in our case to analyze). As the writer, you can specify the criteria you consider most important in relation to that goal, for example, paragraphing supporting an analysis, tone or voice supporting an analysis....

Criteria for most Nonfiction Writing that you might ask for feedback on include: 

  1. Ask if you are Focused on task. If the piece is written in response to an assignment, question, or task, does it squarely address it?
  2. Content. Are there good ideas, smart, interesting or original insights into a text? Are the ideas supported with reasons, evidence, examples?
  3. Organization. It's important to ask about whether your organization is not only clearly established (it seems organized, readers felt that they knew where they were going for the most part) but also persuasive (the sections work well in that arrangement to convince the reader that the of the essay's purpose).  You may also ask if an unconventional organization can be successful. 
  4. Coherence among paragraphs or sentences. Do paragraphs seem well developed, unified around one idea, and coherent.  Do sentences seem to follow satisfactorily from each other?
  5. Clarity of language.
  6. Voice and tone. What is the voice or persona and the stance toward the reader, and do they work well, do they suit the purpose?
  7. Mechanics. Spelling, grammar, punctuation; proofreading.


Specifying Criteria Helps in Giving Feedback to Yourself

  • Criteria give you a kind of leverage or perspective, and help focus your attention on things you might otherwise miss when you read over what you've written. Before reading over a draft, you can pause and consciously ask yourself, "What criteria are the most important for this piece of writing?" or "What features of writing do I especially need to be careful about?" This will help you see more.

To Readers

  • You can make your criterion-based responses more valuable in two ways:
  • Be specific: point to particular passages and words which lead you to the judgments you make.
  • Be honest and try to give the writer the movies of your mind that lie behind these judgments. That is, what reactions in you led to these judgments? For example, if you felt the organization was poor, were you actually feeling lost as you read, or just somewhat distracted or merely disapproving?


A second way is to solicit feedback is more holistically, through a Descriptive Reverse Outline


Descriptive Outline

The procedure is to write a says sentence and a does sentence for each paragraph or section, and then for the whole essay.


A says sentence summarizes the meaning or message. A does sentence describes the function--what the paragraph or piece is trying to do or accomplish with readers (for example, "This paragraph introduces the topic of the essay by means of a humorous anecdote" or "This paragraph brings up an objection that some readers might feel, and then tries to answer that objection").


The key to writing does sentences is to keep them different from the says sentences. Keep them from even mentioning the content of the paragraph. Thus, you shouldn't be able to tell from a does sentence whether the paragraph is talking about cars or ice cream. Here is a does sentence that slides into being a says sentence: "This paragraph gives an example of how women's liberation has affected men more than it has women." To make it a real does sentence, remove any mention of the ideas or content and talk only about function: "This paragraph gives an example" would do. Or perhaps better, "This paragraph gives an example designed to surprise the reader."


The power in descriptive outlines comes from the distance and detachment they provide. Thus, they are useful for giving yourself feedback--particularly when you feel all tangled or caught up in your piece from having worked long and closely on it.



Descriptive Outline for "What's Wrong with Black English?":

One Reader:

  • Says, essay as a whole: Black English is necessary in the classroom in order for poor blacks to improve their position in society.
  • Does, essay as a whole: Does present an argument.
  • Says, first paragraph: Blacks are admired worldwide; their culture will die or suffer if their "language" is not used in school.
  • Does, first paragraph: Gives an observation or example from a great distance--and doesn't even bring up the issue of the essay.
  • Says, second paragraph: Schools need to foster black pride in African-American children.
  • Does, second paragraph: Moves to U.S. and brings up main topic; summarizes and argues her position; adds quotation for support.
  • Says, third paragraph: Some people think that children who don't speak Standard English will be helped by being made to use it in school, but that isn't the way to help them.
  • Does, third paragraph: Gives an opposing argument and answers it.
  • Says, fourth paragraph: Black children need to be taught Standard English too in order to be successful in society.
  • Does, fourth paragraph: Emphasizes that the writer is not arguing an "either/or" position but a "both/and" position.
  • Says, final paragraph: The strength and spirit of America have come from its acceptance of many cultures.
  • Does, fifth paragraph: Summarizes and concludes by appealing to history and national pride.



Today's Peer review.


Add one one Criteria based feedback question to the list of questions below.

Ask for a descriptive outline from your reader (the reader should try to write these as they proceed)

Comment on any sentence level and grammatical errors as you proceed.


Rough Draft Questions:


1. Does the paper have a clear thesis that follows the "skeletal structure" we've discussed? I.e., doe it both identify the central argument(s) of the work it is analyzing and identify the trope and/or techniques the author/director uses to make their point(s)?


2. Does the paper have a clear exigence and purpose (by explaining the exigence and importance of the work it is analyzing and/or the exigence and importance of analyzing this piece of work)? Do you have a solid idea of why this argument is an important one and/or why it is or should be interesting to an audience made up of people such as yourself? What is the exigence?


3. Does the project contain ample support statements/support paragraphs that refer to and back up the thesis?


4. What is the strongest part of the paper (most interesting, most powerfully argued, etc.)?


5. What is the weakest part of the paper (or the part that needs to be improved, further developed or extended)?


6. Does the author make appropriate references to particular moments in the text (quotations, paraphrases, etc.)? Are there enough references to both back up the thesis and allow a reader to follow the argument being made?


7. On the sentence-level, did you find the paper to be well written? Does it contain poor grammmar or sentence-fragments? Is it unnecessarily wordy at times?


8. Does the project read like an analysis rather than a review? I.e., does show a clear attention to the structure and technique of the piece rather than simply summarizing it and explaining its strenghts and weaknesses?


9. What grade would you give the paper if it was a final draft?


Rough Draft Teams:


Team 1

Abdulrub, Samey Hassan 

Dale, Colton M

Elden, Paul Anthony


Team 2

Alshaibani, Ahmed F

Atisha, Perrin Steve

Fitzgerald, Dillon S


Team 3

Frattaroli, Marielle T

Shannon, Daree S

Rodery, Travis  



Team 4

Ghamrawi, Nour 

Livernois, Hannah J

Amy Schneider



Team 5

Haynes, Sasha

Klaser, Adam Jack 

Riar, Yashvir


Mike  <--Haha! You tried to leave me out. Well there I am! Right here! On the page! With my group! My team! Team 5!


Team 6

Malinowski, John E 

Sheikh, Farah

Gietzen, Damien J








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