A peer review is written as an honest, constructive appraisal of another person's draft essay, considering the major components of the piece in context. Overall, the reviewer should consider the goal of the essay and whether the writer has achieved it.
Along with considering the purpose of the essay, the reviewer must take into account the eventual reader in determining issues such as style and approach. In general, the reviewer should evaluate the larger issues before pointing out specifics such as grammar and awkward sentence structures. The larger issues to consider include:
- The introduction: Does it clearly set out the topic and approach
- The organization: Do the ideas flow in a clear and logical manner
- The topic: Are the topic and thesis interesting and engaging and respond to the purpose of the essay as assigned
- The argument: Is the thesis clear and does the essay provide convincing evidence
- The conclusion: Does it briefly summarize the major thesis in a convincing way
It is important to include a discussion of what works well in the essay along with the elements that can be improved. Once the larger issues have been dealt with, the reviewer can move on to details such as grammar and syntax and the construction of each paragraph.