I’ve always felt that peer reviewing is an incredibly helpful and important part of the writing process. I really do enjoy giving that feedback and criticism as a writing tutor. Peer reviewing is important for a number of reasons, and a specific consultation really brought this point to light. Someone came in asking for help with a paper. She said that she had just finished an in-class peer review, and I thought, “Great, it’ll be nice to see what others have said.” However, this person’s paper didn’t have a single marking on it. This person was incredibly frustrated because this had happened before, and when she turned in a previous paper, the grade wasn’t what she had expected.
In my own tutoring sessions, I try to give as much feedback as possible while teaching students how to find mistakes in their own papers and in the works of others. Peer reviewing is incredibly important for a number of reasons other than having someone proofread a paper.
Because you wrote the paper, you certainly have an emotional connection to it (even if it’s just a tiny connection). This can make it difficult to see some possible glaring mistakes.
Another problem is the fact that you are always writing for an audience; while your paper may sound great and structured and ready for print, it may not be effective for your audience. Having peer review sessions is a good way to gauge whether you have an effective draft on your hands.
Lastly, after you’ve spent countless hours on a paper, it’s easy to just glaze over it without really thinking about it—trust me, I know. Peer reviews always give your paper a fresh set of eyes that will (hopefully) analyze your paper quite closely.
In my own writing process, I take peer review sessions seriously and try my best to give others the feedback that I would want them to give me. It’s important to have this feedback because without it, I wouldn’t write successful papers; that’s simply the truth of the matter.