Tuesday, April 9th, 2019
Outline procedures for peer review
Peer Review – Policies and Procedure
For this class, peer review is a major factor towards your class attendance and activity grade. It is always a great idea
to have an outside reader look over your piece prior to any submission, and peer review is built into this class to help
you do just that. With that in mind, it is a little tricky to do peer review in an online class without some structure
built in. So, this is how it is going to work.
In this folder, you are going to find a chart pairing you with another student in the class. It is your responsibility to
email that individual in order to conduct a peer review with them. (Emails for all students in the class can be found
in the “send email” link on the left hand side of the class page. Let me know if you have any trouble with this.) In
today’s folder you will also find a worksheet to help you know what to look for specifically while reading over your
partner’s paper. When you receive your partner’s paper, you will fill out the worksheet as well as mark directly on
their paper. You can mark directly on their paper in word using the “Review” tab at the top to add comments,
suggestions, markings etc. Alternatively, you could print out a copy of their paper and mark it with pen and then
scan or take a photo of it to resend back to your partner.
In your first email to your partner, make sure to give them a little bit of a direction in terms of what you would like
them to look for. You can do this by answering these questions:
1.) What trouble spots or errors would you like your reviewer to look for specifically?
2.) Where do you believe you are in the process of writing this? (Finished? It definitely needs another draft? I
want to add more pages?)
3.) What do you believe is the current weak spot in this paper?
In order to receive credit for your peer review, you MUST make sure to copy me onto the emails that you are
sending to one another. I should be able to see you send it out to one another and return the emails back.
The first time is usually the most confusing, so just let me know if you have any questions
Trouble Shooting – Where Peer Reviews Go Wrong
Generally, peer reviews are only meant to be helpful, and when done correctly, they ARE helpful. However,
sometimes little things will mess up a peer review process. This is especially true with online classes, as you often
don’t see (or even know) your peer review partner. Here are some things to look out for.
Missing Partners – Sometimes, you are all set to peer review someone’s paper, and they are inexplicably missing.
Either they don’t email you. Or they fail to follow up on a second email. This happens. But it is does not excuse the
work. If you have reached out to your partner (and made sure to include me on the email), but you never hear back
from that partner, then make sure to reach out to me immediately. I will do what I can to either find you a new
Unfinished Papers – Sometimes people don’t want to follow up on a peer review because their paper isn’t quite done
yet. I completely understand, but know that it is FINE to send an unfished paper for peer review. Just make sure that
there is enough there so that the peer review partner can get a sense of your writing style and where you are going.
Feel free to include notes about the paper, if you think that will help. All of this is fine. The important part is that
you sent it.
Spotty Feedback – Sometimes you aren’t sure if you are commenting on the “right” parts of the paper. Or maybe
you receive back your paper, but they haven’t answered all your questions. This is where the worksheet comes in
handy. As part of your peer review grade, I will be checking that you commented on their paper directly AND that
you filled out the peer review worksheet. The worksheet is there to help guide you as to what you should be looking
for with each individual paper. Make sure that you include it in your email chains. (And AGAIN, make sure that I
am on each of these emails.)
Your research paper is due at the end of this week, (Friday, April 12th). We will then move quickly onto the final
portfolio. Make sure you are prioritizing your peer review and contacting your partner immediately. Let me know if
you have any other questions!
Finish your Peer Reviews (All reviews should be completed by email by this Sunday, April 14th)
WRITE! Try to keep writing your paper even after you get 300 words.
Author of Paper:
Reviewer (Your Name):
Peer Review: Breaking Down the Research Paper
Question for the author BEFORE you start the review:
1.) What trouble spots or errors would you like your reviewer to look for
2.) Where do you believe you are in the process of writing this?
3.) What do you believe is the current weak spot in this paper?
While you are reading:
1.) Look for weak words in their piece. (Good, bad, slow, fast, big, small, etc.)
a. Place a slash through these words
2.) Identify any Run-Ons or Fragments in the piece.
a. Identify these by writing either RO (run on) or FRAG (fragment)
above these sentences.
3.) Look carefully at the punctuation in the writing, especially with the
a. Circle any punctuation that is wrong or out of place. (Only correct if
you feel the need.)
4.) Identify any awkward phrasing or places where you are getting lost.
a. If the phrasing is just awkward, mark with a AWK above the sentence
b. If the phrasing is confusing, mark with a ? above the sentence
i. NOTE: Sentences can be BOTH awkward and confusing.
5.) Keep an eye out for potential plagiarism problems. Remember, if it is not
common knowledge, it must have a citation as to where the research was
a. If there are plagiarism problems, underline them and make a note in
the margin that they need citation alongside
b. Remember, everything MUST be in MLA format. If you are not
sure that they are in MLA format, make a note next to it to check
for format issues.
If you are peer editing online, you should still make active marks on their paper.
Select track reviews in the review tab, and add comments in the margins. The
review tab has a button to add comments. If you need help, just ask.
Author of Paper:
Reviewer (Your Name):
Question for after you have read:
1.) If you can, identify the topic of your author’s paper and which side they come
down on for the issue.
2.) The thesis of the paper should be very clear. Below, write the thesis for this paper.
3.) Did the author describe and introduce their topic clearly?
4.) In the space below, identify a section where evidence from the text is used well to
support their point. (Make a note in the margins on their paper alongside a star.)
a. Did they use accurate in text citations? (If you are not sure, look up the
5.) Identify a section where evidence (or more evidence) is needed.
6.) Does this paper have a clear lead or hook at this stage?
a. If yes: was it an effective match to the tone of the paper? How so?
b. If no: What type of lead or hook do you believe that they should use
(based on our notes from previous classes).
7.) What is at least one question you have for the author about the topic or the
direction of their paper?
8.) What did you like most about this draft? What has the writer done well?
9.) What is the weakest or least successful point of this draft? Why is it weak?
a. What suggestions do you have for the author to improve their weak area?
Does the author maintain their voice throughout the entire piece?
Does the author have a solid use of details in this piece?
a. If yes: What were some words or phrases that stood out as memorable to
b. If no: Where could they add some details in this piece?
Does this topic interest you as a reader? Why or why not? Did they
manage to convince you that their side is stronger?
Plea of Insanity: Should It Be Used in the Criminal Justice System or Not?
In the United States for many years, the insanity defense has been utilized in the criminal justice
system for many different situations and for many different forms of criminals. Criminals have utilized
the insanity defense even in times when they did not fall into the insane category in certain cases. In my
opinion, a person should only be considered insane if there is undeniable truth that that criminal is
insane or committed the crime in an insane state of mind. While others believe that the insanity defense
should be utilized in the criminal justice system, I believe that the insanity defense should not be utilized
in the criminal justice system because it can be abused by criminals and the defense attorneys as a way
to receive a lesser sentence than they would deserve.
Criminal defense has been a part of the criminal justice system for many, many years. In order
to be given a fair trial, criminals, no matter what crime they have committed, are given a chance to
defend themselves and a professional who is also qualified to defend them. Dependent upon the
situation, a criminal can plea insanity and if the judge and jury believe and see fit to bestow the ruling on
the criminal and the criminal would receive a lesser sentence and a plea deal. There are some groups or
individuals who believe that “...as some would have it, that the defense lets murderers or others ‘get
away with it’” (Singer). The plea of insanity is a helpful tool that can be utilized in the criminal justice
system depending on the situation and if the person deserves the plea.
According to Dean Norval Morris in his book “Madness and Criminal Law”, he proposes to the
readers of his novel his opinion of abolishing the insanity defense and the incompetence to stand trial
for a crime that has been committed. The conclusions that he finally reaches at the end of his book are
reviewed by Richard Singer and commented upon. In the opinion of Morris, he believes that the insanity
defense should be “disallowed”. Singer concludes that he does believe that the insanity defense should
be disallowed based on many different defenses, not just the insanity defense. “Even if there were no
principled distinction between his proferred defenses and the insanity defense, and I think there are,
there may be other reasons—administrative efficiency, problems of proof, etc.-- which would at least
allow us to preclude some defenses while accepting others” (Singer). This statement made by Singer
provides evidence that the insanity defense should be used in situations that are closely examined and
taken into consideration against other defenses that may be provided. For instance, the insanity plea
should not be administered in a situation in which there is insufficient or partial proof. If there was
indeed insufficient or partial proof, a criminal would almost indefinitely receive a lesser sentence than
they would deserve if the insanity plea was also bestowed upon them.
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