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Using Critical Evaluation And Peer Review Writing Assignments In A Chemical Process Safety Course

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1103.1 - 6.1103.8



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Paper Authors

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Douglas Ludlow

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

Session 3213

Using Critical Evaluation and Peer-Review Writing Assignments in a Chemical Process Safety Course

Douglas K. Ludlow Department of Chemical Engineering University of Missouri-Rolla


In preparing engineers for the future there are increasing demands on engineering educators to teach writing, oral communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills in addition to the discipline content. An important skill that engineers can develop is the ability to find out what has been done before so as not to waste time duplicating previous work. This background development is typically done through library research and by keeping up-to-date with current publications. One of the most difficult aspects of developing this skill, however, is learning to critically evaluate this previous work. It is of little value to know what has been done before if the engineer cannot evaluate the quality or importance of the work.

Critical evaluation can also be developed through the process of peer review. The value of peer review in developing both critical thinking and student writing skills is well documented1-5. Lessons are learned on both sides of the peer review, both by those who are critically evaluating someone else’s work and by those whose work is evaluated. The first drafts tend to be improved because the students realize that their peers will be reading their writing. The final drafts improve since the students are provided with a formalized method to revise the original report in response to the review. The reviewer benefits from being forced to evaluate someone else’s writing and to consider the elements that lead to an effective report. Of course, the instructor must provide sufficient structure and guidance to prevent students from giving entirely negative or hierarchical evaluations.

This paper presents two techniques to help students develop their critical thinking and communication skills. In the first, students are asked to critically review a journal article and to prepare a brief evaluation of the journal article. The second technique described is to allow the students to practice the anonymous refereeing process with their peers5. Each of these techniques will be described in turn.

Critical Evaluation of Journal articles

An important component of an engineering education is the ability to communicate effectively6-8, to have efficient technical literacy9-12, and to be able to critically evaluate what we read4,13,14. As we train students to be design engineers or to work in product development, we need to help them develop the ability to find out what has been done before so as not to waste time

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Ludlow, D. (2001, June), Using Critical Evaluation And Peer Review Writing Assignments In A Chemical Process Safety Course Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9963

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