The term "peer review" might conjure up images of complicated academic journals, but peers can review anything for each other. Unsure how to peer review your colleagues work?When a colleague asks you to give something he or she wrote a glance, here are eight peer review tips you can use for workplace writing :
- Start by finding out what s/he is trying to accomplish and who the reader is.
- Read the entire piece before giving advice. Some of your questions might be answered later in the work.
- Try to get back to your colleague quickly since s/he may be under deadline.
- Tell the truth in your peer review, but try to be sensitive at the same time. If you can, make your initial comments positive and identify the best parts of the piece. This helps keep your peer review pleasant and gives your colleague a clear example of what's correct.
- Organize your comments in an inverted pyramid. Start with big issues like whether the piece, as a whole, is effective. You can then discuss specific ideas or the organization, for instance. As you work your way down, you'll eventually get to smaller issues like word choices, instances of unclear phrasing, or grammar errors . Throughout your peer review, try to give as many specific examples as you can.
- Let the writer know what needs to be extended and what can be cut. In business writing, brevity is frequently important. Remember what Mark Twain said: "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead." Help your peer be brief.
- Give your colleague your sense of his/her piece by explaining what you think is being communicated and how the piece is organized.
- Place extra focus on the introduction. If the piece doesn't get off to a good start, it's unlikely to get the attention it deserves.