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Part 1: Peer Review

For this peer review, each of you will work in groups of three. You will need to complete two peer reviews, one for each of your partners. Write "read by [Your name]" at the top of the paper, and if you are the second reader, try to use a different color ink to distinguish the comments. As you read the paper,including the works cited, mark errors, confusing sections, and effective sections. In addition, as you read, do the following:

1. In the introduction, underline the sentence that best describes the claim being made in the paper. Restate that claim in the margin beside the introduction. If there is no clear thesis, say so in order to warn the writer that he or she needs to come up with one.

2. Circle every transition phrase that connects paragraphs. Label it "effective," "weak," or "absent."

3. Label each body paragraph either "summary" or "claim" using these guidelines:

  • A "summary" paragraph will start with a factual statement and simply summarize the plot of one of the documents from the syllabus without making a specific point.
  • A "claim" paragraph will start with a claim that relates to the main thesis of the paper. References to a primary or secondary text support the central claim of the paragraph.

4. For each quote, do the following:

  • Verify that each quote has a signal phrase, the actual quote, a citation, and discussion/analysis. If the quote has all four parts, put a check next to the citation. If it does not, put an X next to the citation and write what is missing from the quote.
  • Next to each quote, indicate if the quote and analysis support the claim made in the paragraph. If it doesn't, say so.
  • Flip to the works cited page and check to see if the citation for the quote lines up with a source listed alphabetically on the works cited page. Check off the works cited page entry if it matches. If there is no citation (or you can't locate it), write "not on works cited page" next to the quote's citation.

When you are done reading and marking up the text, write a note in which you comment on the following:

  • How effectively does the paper set up a central thesis? State what it is and what parts of the paper support it well. Does the paper feel like it simply summarizes the plot of the text under discussion, or does it support a central claim?
  • How effectively are primary texts used in the paper? These text would be the original writings on an issue (and not the supporting essays in the anthology). Is there enough evidence from the primary text?
  • How effectively is the research integrated into the paper? Which parts work well? Which parts seemed forced? How could the author use it more effectively?
  • What other advice would you give the writer?

Part 2: Self-Review

To prepare for your final draft (due on Wednesday), please complete the following checklist to make sure your paper will not lose points for minor errors:

  • Use CONTROL-F to search for the word "this" and make sure a noun follows immediately after it.
  • Use CONTROL-F to search for the word "thing" and substitute a more specific noun in its place.
  • Use CONTROL-F to search for the word "you" and rewrite the sentence to avoid using "you."
  • Use CONTROL-F to search for the word "I" and seriously consider removing the phrase that contains "I" in it, particularly if it is in a phrase like "I think" or "I believe."
  • Use CONTROL-F to search for each hyphen (-). If the hyphen is supposed to represent a dash, make sure there are two hyphens to recreate the length of a dash.
  • Use CONTROL-F to search for each colon (:) and make sure that a complete sentence falls before the colon.
  • Use CONTROL-F to search for each semi-colon (;) and make sure that a complete sentence falls before and after the semi-colon.
  • Use CONTROL-F and search for each quotation mark. Verify that each quote has a signal phrase that is properly punctuated, that each quote has a parenthetical citation, that each citation is placed in the proper position with the punctuating, and that there is adequate discussion of each quote.
  • Check that each block quote is two tab widths from the left margin and does not have quotation marks around it (see the handbook on page 406 for a discussion).
  • If a quote has another quote inside it, make sure the quote-within-a-quote is in single quotation marks (see the handbook, page 320 for details).
  • Verify that each transition between paragraphs occurs at the start of each paragraph, not at the end of a paragraph.
  • Verify that your conclusion ties together the core ideas of the paper, not just one or two.
  • Make sure the phrase "In conclusion" does not appear in the paper.
  • Visually compare your paper to the sample MLA paper on pages 450-454 of the handbook and make sure the spacing and layout is correct.
  • Check each works cited entry and make sure that sources from Lexis-Nexis, Proquest, JSTOR, and EBESCO Host follow the guidelines for "a work from a service such as INFOTRAC" (page 433 of the handbook).
  • Make sure every item on the works cited page is referenced in the paper.
  • Make sure every item on the works cited page is double-spaced and uses a hanging indent.
  • Check to make sure your font is 12 point Times New Roman.
  • Check to make sure your first page has a page number on it and all the required information for the information block. Make sure the page number has your last name in it and is in the proper font.
  • Make sure your title is centered, properly capitalized, and does not use quotes, bold, italics, or size change to set it off.

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