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The Mayfield Handbook of Technical & Scientific Writing
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Requesting a Peer Review

Observe the following guidelines in asking a colleague to review your document.

  1. Provide your reader with sufficient information on your motivation and goals, both explicit and implicit, in writing the document; the document's intended audience or audiences; and relevant background not included in the document.
  2. Ask the reviewer to perform specific tasks or answer specific questions regarding content, organization, and appropriateness. Ask the reviewer questions similar to the ones given in Revising for Content and Revising for Organization. Do not ask overly general questions such as "Is the report understandable?" Instead, ask, "Are any terms used that some readers may not understand?"
  3. Select tasks and questions appropriate to the reviewer's abilities and position. In most cases, do not ask colleagues to mark mechanical problems such as spelling unless they happen to notice them in passing.

Example of a Request for a Peer Review

Please review the following report. The report was requested by the marketing division to distribute to their sales force because several customers have expressed concern about the incongruities between the file structures of our operating system and the file structure of the World Wide Web. The purpose of the document is to give our sales and support persons several solutions to the problem that they can pass on to our customers. Please answer a few specific questions:

  1. Have I explained the problem clearly enough on page 2 for our sales and support persons?
  2. Will our sales and support persons be able to understand my descriptions of possible solutions well enough so that they can then explain them to our customers?
  3. Can you think of any additional negative effects that might be produced by solutions 2 or 3?
  4. I evaluate the positive and negative aspects of each solution after I present it. Would it be more effective to present all four solutions and then evaluate them together?
Of course, feel free to add any comments you have on ways to improve the report. Thanks for taking time to review it.

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## Requesting a Peer Review ##
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