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Writing in natural sciences: Understanding the effects of different types of reviewers on the writing process

Patchan, MM and Schunn, CD and Clark, RJ (2011) Writing in natural sciences: Understanding the effects of different types of reviewers on the writing process. Journal of Writing Research, 2 (3). 365 - 393. ISSN 2030-1006

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In undergraduate natural science courses, two types of evaluators are commonly used to assess student writing: graduate-student teaching assistants (TAs) or peers. The current study examines how well these approaches to evaluation support student writing. These differences between the two possible evaluators are likely to affect multiple aspects of the writing process: first draft quality, amount and types of feedback provided, amount and types of revisions, and final draft quality. Therefore, we examined how these aspects of the writing process were affected when undergraduate students wrote papers to be evaluated by a group of peers versus their TA. Several interesting results were found. First, the quality of the students' first draft was greater when they were writing for their peers than when writing for their TA. In terms of feedback, students provided longer comments, and they also focused more on the prose than the TAs. Finally, more revisions were made if the students received feedback from their peers-especially prose revisions. Despite all of the benefits seen with peers as evaluators, there was only a moderate difference in final draft quality. This result indicates that while peer-review is helpful, there continues to be a need for research regarding how to enhance the benefits.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Patchan, MM
Schunn, CDschunn@pitt.eduSCHUNN0000-0003-3589-297X
Clark, RJ
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Learning Research & Development Center
Date: 1 January 2011
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Writing Research
Volume: 2
Number: 3
Page Range: 365 - 393
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.17239/jowr-2011.02.03.4
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 2030-1006
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2014 18:10
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 14:55


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