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The Use Of Peer Review In The Undergraduate Laboratory

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.435.1 - 2.435.7



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Paper Authors

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James A. Newell

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2513

The Use of Peer-Review in the Undergraduate Laboratory James A. Newell Department of Chemical Engineering University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58202-7101


The value of peer review in developing both critical thinking and student writing skills is well- documented (1-4). The first drafts tend to be improved because the students’ realize that their peers will be reading their writing (5). Additionally, the student is provided with a formalized to revise the original report in response to the review. The reviewer benefits by being forced to consider the elements that lead to an effective report. However, the instructor must provide sufficient structure and guidance to prevent students from giving entirely negative or hierarchial evaluations (5). Thus, providing a structured report sheet, similar to a referee report, is advantageous.

At the University of North Dakota, peer review has been added into the undergraduate research lab, as part of an ongoing systematic effort to develop the oral and written communication skills of chemical engineering undergraduates (6,7). A student submits a copy of a technical journal article based on his or her lab experiment. This journal article is similar in scope to an extended abstract. An additional copy of this report is given to a different student in the class who has not run the same experiment. This student must then learn the details of the experiment, evaluate the technical report, make specific suggestions for revision, and identify both strengths and weaknesses of the report. The peer review does not affect the grade of the original journal author, but the review itself is graded. Finally, the original writer receives the peer review and a faculty review. He or she is then given an opportunity to return to the lab to gather any additional data that is required, and then resubmit a revised report in response to the reviews This revised report is graded separately from the original report. Each student writes one technical journal article, one peer-review, one operations manual, one oral presentation, and one revised final report during the course. The next three pages show the handout given to students and the referee report that they are asked to use with their review.

Newell, J. A. (1997, June), The Use Of Peer Review In The Undergraduate Laboratory Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6866

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