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Peer Editing and feedback exercise

Today we will be editing each other’s work for the purpose of not only improving our own writing, using the feedback of others, but also to sharpen our editing skills. Being a good editor is important for honing your critical thinking skills, which will help in reading scholarly work and critiquing your own writing. Editing is also a part of the work for many art historical pursuits (museum work, publishing, teaching, etc.)

  1. Read your partner’s style assignment twice. One reading should be devoted to commenting on the overall sense of the paper – is a clear and logical argument presented? Are piece(s) described well? Are there questions or holes in what is presented? Does the organization seem appropriate? A second reading should be used to help clean up errors in diction and prose. How is the writing in general? Make any general tips for writing at this time. (You may do these two readings in any order that you prefer). Take notes as you read, in addition to writing on the text, as your partner will use your notes later. At this point, do not ask your partner for any clarifications – read as if she is not there. Note: Editors can also take this opportunity to point out what are the strengths of the writing – this can help a writer parse the good from the less-than-good. (20-25 minutes)
  2. Tell your partner in a few sentences how you might use style in your paper. (1-2 minutes each) The point of this exercise is for your reader to judge whether or not you have clearly written what you mean to say. Often we present things more clearly orally and then muddy it when we write. This is a good trick if you are having trouble writing a particular section of a paper – go discuss it with someone and say it out loud.
  3. Based on the verbal description, editors should add a few more comments to their notes. Did the author clearly convey their idea? Does the argument seem viable and convincing? (3 minutes)
  4. Authors will take their written feedback from the editors and ask any questions about the comments. Again, take notes on what the editor says. Here is the opportunity for the author to suggest potential changes to the topic and bounce them off the editor. (5 minutes each)
  5. OUTSIDE OF CLASS Authors will rewrite the paper (if they feel it is warranted). Remember that an editor’s notes are SUGGESTIONS and you do not have to incorporate every idea. Sometimes their question may be irrelevant, but it might point to a lack of clarity in a particular sentence or phrase thereby throwing the editor off.
  6. Email the rewritten paper to me.