CAHSS Faculty Articles

Improving Student Writing through Multiple Peer Feedback


0000-0002-7673-8066, 0000-0002-3094-3734

Publication Title

Frontiers in Education: Energizing the Future

Event Date/Location

Oklahoma City, OK

Publication Date



It is widely recognized that effective written communication skills are essential for engineers. However, many engineering instructors are reluctant to integrate writing assignments into their curricula and writing instruction is often relegated to a technical writing service course rather than in the context of engineering courses. One way to address these concerns is to use peer feedback. Recent research by Cho & MacArthur (2010) showed that feedback from multiple peers in a psychology research methods class was more effective in improving students' writing than feedback from a single expert—typically the instructor—or a single peer reviewer. When compared with single-expert and single-peer feedback contexts, multiple-peer feedback revealed improved students' understanding of comments, included nondirective recommendations for revisions—which resulted in made more complex repair decisions (global issues like organization and focus vs. local issues like sentence structure and grammar) and new content revisions as well as improved paper quality overall. The purpose of this study is an attempt to reproduce the results from Cho & MacArthur's study in the context of a first-year engineering course. Research questions include: 1. How do different forms of feedback affect improvement in students' writing quality in an engineering course? 2. How does the form of feedback impact student perceptions of the assignment? 3. Does training on feedback best practices for writing peer review affect the quality of peer review comments? This article will outline the project and address our theoretical framework and methods. Results of the research will be presented in a future article.

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