Why Use Peer Review

Initial Publication Date: December 21, 2006

Peer review provides benefits for both the instructor and student.

  • Frequent writing assignments that do not increase the grading workload. Peer review enables frequent student writing in introductory-level geoscience courses without overloading the instructor with papers to grade.
  • Students develop key skills such as abstracting, developing arguments, describing, assessing, criticizing, analyzing, and reviewing. With the assignments, students encounter engaging ideas, ponder important issues, and develop critical thinking skills.
  • Student learning may be enhanced in the overall field of science. Peer review allows students to experience first-hand the "collaborative process of construction and refinement of knowledge, the subjective nature of evaluation and peer review, and the role of creativity in research" (Trautmann et al., 2003).
  • New technology enables electronic peer review outside of class hours, increasing the flexibility of this type of assignment. With students balancing their academic, personal, and/or professional lives, having students work on peer review outside of class and/or the use of technology makes peer review more convenient. Students can work around their individual schedules instead of trying to coordinate meeting times. Students have the option to use the technology necessary from home in addition to school facilities.


Trautmann, N.M., Carlsen, W.S., Eick, C.J., Gardner, F.E., Kenyon, L., Moscovici, H., Moore, J.C., Thompson, M., and West, S., 2003, "Online peer review, learning science as it's practiced." Journal of College Science Teaching, v. 32, n. 7, p. 443-447.