Skip to main content

Peer Review in Academic Writing: Different Perspectives from Instructors and Students

Written by: Rashad Ahmed
Published on: Jun 14, 2021

Academic Writing
Image credit: Vetta/Getty Images

This study employed a mixed-methods approach to examine peer review through the eyes of writing instructors and first-year college students, including native and nonnative speakers of English. A total of 162 participants took part in the study, including 142 students and 20 full-time writing instructors.

The quantitative analysis involved multiple chi-square tests and Fisher’s exact tests with Bonferroni adjustments for Type I error. The researcher examined the qualitative data for common themes and summarized in categories illustrated by participants’ quotes.

The results of the study show significant differences between instructors and students in relation to the writing aspects that they focused on when doing peer review. Two important trends were revealed:

  1. Both student groups (native and nonnative) focused primarily on language accuracy and range, particularly concerning grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

  2. The instructors were more involved with aspects related to the writing itself, such as thesis statement, organization, coherence, content, and evidence and examples.

A significantly higher percentage of instructors reported problems with peer review related to lack of confidence, low appreciation for peer feedback, and reluctance to provide critical comments. The solutions offered by the students and the instructors also varied.

TESOL Journal