Peer Review

Learn important collaborative and team-building skills and provide useful critiques of your peers’ documents.

Contrary to the myth of the isolated author in the garret, successful writers do not work in isolation. Writers collaborate extensively. Writers develop their best ideas by discussing issues with colleagues, by researching others’ ideas, and by exchanging comments about one another’s documents.

Peer review has always been an important part of the writing process. Using language is inherently a social process. When the first cave man started doodling on the cave, he probably had critics looking over his shoulder, suggesting he hold the brush a different way, mix the paint differently, perhaps make the buffalo appear fiercer, and so on. Peer review is an integral component of writing. Many people get their best ideas by discussing issues and drafts and by accounting for readers’ responses to their documents. Thankfully, new communication technologies make it easier to collaborate than ever before possible.

Peer Review Is an Integral Part of the Writing Process

Many people find discussions with trusted colleagues to be an invaluable way to develop and polish ideas. Professionals in most disciplines, for example, attend conferences so that they can discuss ideas with colleagues and leading researchers. Writers in business and scientific contexts commonly work in teams with individuals responsible for their areas of expertise, such as marketing language, audience, finance, research, and editing. Some authors do not feel comfortable beginning a new project until they have discussed their ideas with others. Successful writers do not wait until they have completed a project before seeking constructive criticism. Instead, they share early drafts with critics.