As I look through the Report drafts, I have found some continuing common errors which are worth providing more examples for correcting to assist with peer reviewing.
Avoid BIG CHUNKS of text: organize the report into sections and sub-sections.
A common error that I continue to see: writing your reviews in the past tense.
The survey results from the physicians were very interesting to read and the data provides evidence to support the problem statement that was made in the introduction. Under Figure 1, you had included a summary of the survey findings but the impact is lost on the reader as we read further into the sentence.
The survey results from the physicians are interesting to read and the data provides evidence to support the problem as stated in the introduction. Under Figure 1, you include a summary of the survey findings, however, there is too much detail after the summary.
Incorrect: “The introduction provided a very good overview.“
Rewrite: “The introduction provides an excellent overview.“
Incorrect: The report clearly stated the problem of declining rates in undergraduate student enrolment in the UBC chemistry program since 2010.
Rewrite: The report clearly states the problem of declining rates in undergraduate student enrolment in the UBC chemistry program since 2010.
Note: please avoid overuse of the word very, there are many other words and phrases that express this sentiment.
AVOID the Negative- please be sure to review this post!
Never start a sentence with a number:
Incorrect: 40% of physicians surveyed strongly agree that they would be more comfortable if someone else, such as administrative staff, handled their billings. 6.7% somewhat agreed, 40% were neutral and 13.3% somewhat disagreed.
Rewrite: Forty percent of physicians surveyed strongly agree that they would be more comfortable if someone else, such as administrative staff, handled their billings. Sixty-seven percent somewhat agreed, 40% were neutral and 13.3% somewhat disagreed.
INCORRECT: I have completed my review of your first draft of your report on The Customer Experience at the Richmond Olympic Experience Museum. My overall impressions are included below, within the peer review guide designed for this assignment. Please let me know if you have any questions or require clarifications to anything noted below. Bullet points include topics that were looked for when reviewing your report. Notes and additional thoughts for each section included below these points.
REWRITE with YOU attitude: Your peer review for ‘The Customer Experience at the Richmond Olympic Experience Museum’ is completed and includes overall impressions and notes for each section of the Report. Your questions are welcome.
You Attitude requires that you avoid imperative verbs and the word ‘you’ and ‘your’ in the context.
Incorrect: “Centralize on your reader’s goals and what they want to know.”
Rewrite: Making sure the reader’s goals come first is important.
Incorrect: “Your reader is a distinguished academic Professor. When writing your email consider the voice and tone of your audience. In this scenario it essential to write with a professional tone and make sure your grammar and spelling are correct.”
Rewrite: When writing to a professor, being considerate and writing with a professional tone and correct grammar are important.
Try to begin practicing the YOU attitude in all your writing, especially peer reviews.
Incorrect: I have read over your memo to Evan Crisp which provides thoughtful recommendations on how to write with the YOU attitude. Overall your memo is well written, I can, however, help you with your writing by offering some insights:
Rewrite: Your memo to Evan crisp is well written, however some tips on how to write with YOU attitude will improve your communications.
Focus on taking out the ‘people’ and the ‘you’s’ and imperative verbs.
Incorrect: Emphasize reader benefit by highlighting how the professor will be positively affected. Instead of focusing on your own benefits of enrolling in the professor’s class, express how the they will benefit from having you as a student in their class. Rather than “I need to take three credits to graduate,” use a positive You Attitude, for example, “I am a senior student eager to contribute positively to this class.”
Rewrite: Emphasizing benefits and positive outcomes for the reader will assist in receiving a positive response. For example: “assignments will be of a high standard and submitted on time.”
Take out the ‘people’ – for example:
Incorrect: “To elicit effective and open communication in writing to a professor, writers might consider the professor’s point of view, rather than the reader’s own aims. By showing an understanding or the awareness to care about the professor’s experiences (i.e. busy start of semester, full class, likely lots of emails), readers can elicit a more positive response, which goes a long way, especially when asking for something!
Rewrite: Considering the reader’s point of view and needs, rather than the writer’s aims, will help ensure a more positive response – especially when making a request.
Here is a good example of what happens when you replace the imperative verbs:
Incorrect: Avoid using a condescending or insulting tone. Reduce the number of “you” words, as it may sound insulting and demanding to the reader. Avoid telling the reader what to do, and instead politely explain your situation and request to be enrolled. Do not forget to thank them for their time and effort.
Rewrite: Avoiding the use of condescendence and an insulting tone can be achieved by reducing the number of ‘you’ words. Avoiding imperative verbs will create a polite tone, as well as remembering to say thank you.
NOTE: the cover page of your reports need to include name[s] and contact for your readers. Thank you.
NOTE page 524 of textbook: “Stipulate the audience only in the version for your professor – i.e.: your proposal, not your final report.