Peer Review in Student Inquiry
It is common to think of peer review as something that happens
at the end of a research project, when students provide comments
about each other's presentations or reports. However, it makes
sense to build peer review in various ways into all stages of
the inquiry process. This can be as informal as students pairing
up to exchange comments about some selected aspect of their work,
or as formal as the use of a numerical rubric for peer selection
of the winners of a poster contest.
Two levels of inquiry
Inquiry is organized into two levels
of inquiry, and peer review is useful at both. At the protocol level,
students benefit from informally presenting and discussing their work through
"pair review," in which each student or group meets with another
to share ideas about their strategies and results. Presenting and discussing
their experiments in this informal manner helps students to focus on what they
have learned from their work and what they can learn from each other.
At the interactive research level, peer review becomes
more rigorous. Unlike in "cookbook labs", students engaged in authentic
research are responsible for planning the design of their experiments. Discussing
plans with their peers will help students to narrow down and focus their research
plans. This is an informal sort of peer review and can be structured using
on which students write comments about various aspects of the experimental
After completion of student experiments,
peer review can provide a forum for critical evaluation of research results
and help students to improve the quality of their reports and presentations.
Although this sort of peer review can take place within individual classrooms,
students often become more motivated when asked to present to a broader audience
of peers. This can occur at multi-school student congresses or by using EI's
online peer review system. After completing their research, students can
peer review each other's oral presentations, posters, or written summaries.
forms are available to help students plan experiments and engage in peer
review at both levels of inquiry.
Peer Review Guidelines for Teachers
Peer Review Home