Peer revision questions for:
The Uses of Revision
It has been said that the difference between a mediocre writer and a good writer is revision. This is very different than editing. It is about seeing the paper in a whole new way: re-vision. To see again. Many students line-edit papers for surface-level errors but never try to see the paper with fresh eyes and think about how it might be radically changed. This is the most important aspect of drafting because it is in the revision that a paper is strengthened. Editing is important, but it is important because a well edited paper is easier to read, does not leave readers confused or unsure of what the author is trying to say, and shows that the author cares about the paper. A well edited paper raises the ethos of the writer because readers have a higher opinion of those who avoid grammatical, syntactical, mechanical, or typographical error. In this sense, editing can make an essay more effective. Editing cannot, however, fix larger problems concerning structure, logic, the use of evidence, or the overall cohesion of a paper. For these, you need revision.
All professional and academic writers revise, and for many the revision process takes longer than it took to write the first draft. Some writers, such as Toni Morrison, say that they revise a piece to make it shorter and more focused; others revise a text to make it longer, adding examples, evidence, and descriptive detail to help the reader follow the discussion, argument, or narrative. One of the authors of this text revises to make her papers shorter, while the other revises to make her texts longer. The challenge for every writer is to understand what kind of revision he or she typically needs, and the way to reach that understanding is through practice and dialogue with readers. Readers are an essential part of this process because the writer is making a transition from a first draft, which is written to allow the writer to know what he or she wanted to say, to a final draft, which is written to communicate with readers. For this reason, we emphasize the importance of peer review. As you get used to asking reader-focused questions of other people's texts, you will also find it easier to ask reader-focused questions of your own texts.
While there are specific reader-focused questions one can ask to help
revise specific kinds of papers (comparison, synthesis, etc.), there are
also general questions that you can ask to help you revise any paper.
These questions work for self revision and peer revision.
The Revision Outline
Revising your own writing or that of your peers
Read the paper carefully and answer the following questions:
A not so gentle hint: it is an utter waste of time to edit a paper before you revise it!
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