Stepwise Progression in Student Peer
Environmental Inquiry is organized into two levels of inquiry, through
which students learn to carry out increasingly sophisticated elements of research.
forms are available to guide students in planning experiments and engaging
in peer review at both levels (Protocol and Interactive Research). We suggest
a sequence such as the following for integrating peer review into various stages
of student research.
- Introduce the idea of peer review. After students
have viewed the Peer Review
Tutorial, hold a class discussion in which together you critique
a sample research report. This will introduce students to ways
of giving constructive comments in peer review, and it will help
them to begin thinking critically about experimental design and
- Carry out an EI Protocol. Introduce students to research using a Protocol
such as a dose/response
experiment using lettuce seeds. After students have analyzed their results,
have them meet in pairs or small groups to critique each other's data analysis
and interpretations. Students exchange written feedback using the Data
Analysis Peer Review Form.
- Students design Interactive Research. Using the research protocols
they have learned, students plan their own experiments. Instead of starting from
scratch, they can get ideas by reading reports written by other students, such
as those published in EI's
archive. Have students meet in pairs or small groups to compare and discuss
their research ideas, then exchange written feedback using the Experimental
Design Peer Review Form.
- Students analyze and present their results. After students have completed
their experiments, once again they can benefit from peer review by exchanging
feedback in pairs or small groups using the Data
Analysis Peer Review Form. Ask them to focus on questions such as the
- Do the data seem reasonable? If not, what possible explanations
can you come up with for the results you obtained?
- What can you conclude from your data?
- Can you think of any other possible explanation for these
- What might you do differently if you were planning a follow-up
At the Interactive Research level, students write draft research reports by
filling in the Research
Report Form. This can be done on paper for use within an individual
classroom, or electronically as part of EI's
online peer review system. Students may also create posters displaying
their research projects.
- Students peer review research reports. Once students have written draft
research reports, they are ready to exchange detailed feedback with fellow students.
You can download the Research
Report Peer Review Form to view the questions asked in EI's online peer
review system. At poster sessions students evaluate each other's work using the
Peer Review Form.
- Students revise their research reports. Based on feedback they have
received, students may decide to revise their research reports. Using EI's
online peer review system, students can edit their draft reports before publishing
them in final form on our web-based
- Assessment. In addition to the report or poster used
for peer review, you are likely to ask students to hand in a
research report for a grade. In order to assess their understanding
of the peer review process, we suggest that you include questions
such as the following in this final write-up:
- What peer review comments did you receive?
- Did you agree with these comments?
- How did you use the comments in preparing your final report?
Peer Review Guidelines for Teachers
Peer Review Home
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University and Penn State University