Critiquing peer work is an integral aspect of improving your own writing. It teaches you what to look for when editing your own work. A constructive critique takes at least half an hour to write. You will need to review the essay more than once and take notes about aspects you like as well as what’s not working. Be sure to set aside some time for careful thought about the essays you are critiquing.
You will write your critique in the form of a personal letter to the author. Keep in mind that this is only a rough draft and the author will continue improving the essay before it is due in Module 14. You can help the author by offering specific, constructive, honest, and supportive critiques.
Before you post each of your peer letters, check them to make sure you have mentioned at least one specific thing you liked about the essay, made two specific suggestions for improvement, and posed several questions you had about the essay that will stimulate further revision. See the guidelines below.
After finding your workshop group in the Discussion, write a 250â€“500 word letter to the classmates in your assigned workshop group.
Please use the following format for your letter:
Dear Classmate’s Name,
Paragraph 1: What’s Working
It’s important that you start your letter with what’s working well in the essay. In the first paragraph, quote a specific moment that has stayed with you, and explain why. Giving specific praise is important because authors need to discover their strengths so they can nurture those aspects of their writing.
Paragraph 2: Revision Suggestions
In the next paragraph(s), talk about how the author could improve the essay. Point out places where you struggled with the essay or where you saw revision opportunities. Use the following list of questions to help you figure out what you want to say in each of your peer letters:
- List two aspects of the review that are strong and working well.
- Does the introduction give you an overview of the artwork? If not, what’s missing?
- How does the author set a physical context for the piece (or exhibit)? It should be clear where the author viewed it and what its context is.
- Does the thesis statement include the artwork title, artwork intention, and reviewer opinion? Should any of these items be added or clarified? Is the thesis placed within the introduction paragraph(s)?
- How does the author discuss the historical or cultural context of the piece? What information would be helpful to include (if it’s not included here)?
- How has the author given specific descriptionsof the piece, or part of the piece (this could be a scene from a movie, one piece in an exhibit, or a part of a painting)? Did the author use the list of elements and principles discussed in Module 10, or some of the descriptive tactics from Module 13? Which areas could use more description?
- Does the author have three to five clear criteria or elements for analysis? List them here.
- Does the author develop each criterion or element with examples and analysis that support the thesis idea (TEA body paragraph structure)? Which areas could use more examples? More analysis? A clearer connection between analysis and thesis idea?
- Did the author incorporate at least two relevant, reputable research sources? Which places (if any) could benefit from more research? From more graceful research incorporation?
- Did the author cite outside research sourcesaccording to MLA style with quotations (for quotes), in-text citations, and a Works Cited list? Please point out anything that’s incorrectly cited or missing.
- Does the conclusion paragraph return to the thesis idea and resolve the review as a whole? Which of the conclusion tactics from Page 10 of this module would you suggest the author use to close the essay?
Paragraph 3: Questions
Finally, end your letter with questions for the author. The questions should provoke the author as they begin to revise. Think of useful questions that let the author know what you found confusing or what you’d like to see developed.
Sincerely (or Warmly),
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