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Instructions for reciprocal critiquing
Department of Psychology,
University of Glasgow.
For both the essay/review as a whole, and separately for each section:
for each of the three marking criteria:
say both what is good, and what could be improved and if
=> so for a CR with 4 sections that will be 5 times 3 times 2 (= 30) comments
to attempt to make if you can.
The three criteria for critical reviews are:
(these are on the marking sheet staff use, and in the course handbook)
- Quality of the write-up i.e. is the material well presented and clearly
- Quality of the critical analysis: have they gone beyond an essay style,
moving beyond description to encompass interesting and challenging evaluation?
- Quality of the research carried out i.e. did they find the best papers,
are they recent? (only really applies to the whole not each part separately)
Answer any specific questions that the author asked for feedback on.
Mark the essay itself for any spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, sentences
or paragraphs you cannot understand; and hand back the marked document as well
as the higher level comments.
Two sided benefits
In general, remember, there are benefits from this for both sides (author and
The authors actually want to hear comments, and sometimes students are not
only less anxious about, but in fact more attentive to comments from peers.
Even if the author were indifferent to the comments, there is a big
benefit for the commentator in having to reason about the assessment criteria,
and so the learning objectives, of the original activity of writing a critical
review or essay. In fact, we can only write by continually making judgements
in our head about what is good. This exercise allows you to focus on and
practise those judgements without also having to write at the same time. It
also requires you not just to make judgements but to articulate and perhaps
justify them: and so to reason more explicitly about the criteria. This is
easier of course on someone else's work, where the reasons are not already in
your head from doing the writing.
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