An Exercise in Peer Review

Hello again, everyone! I hope everyone has been coping with this sudden cold spell and onset of fall! Admittedly, it’s been a welcome change for me. Thankfully, a cold, foggy morning like today didn’t keep CoRP members away from meeting and working together.

With the semester slowly winding down and many deadlines fast approaching, we used today’s meeting time to split into small groups and engage in something that I believe is essential to a good research question: peer review. Dr. Frank and Natasha Scott have been developing interview questions for Natasha’s thesis on “Spoken Discourse Practices of 2nd and 3rd Grade Teachers in Appalachia.” Today, Dr. Frank passed out a handout that contained the 12 questions that her and Natasha intended to ask 2nd and 3rd grade teachers during the interview process of their study. The questions seemed relevant, fairly clear and specific enough to elicit a wealth of information from the participants. As the small groups began to break down the questions and really pick them apart, we were able to refine and improve upon them.

Without doubt, our combined efforts in refining these questions will be incredibly beneficial to Dr. Frank and Natasha’s study. The true effectiveness of peer review was finally revealed to me today, as well. In the past, many courses have required peer review exercises; however, these were assignments and the feedback I received was the bare minimum. With CoRP, the peer review process was met with an intense focus because everyone there truly loves research and attend voluntarily. It’s an entirely different dynamic from the standard peer review you’d find in a high school or college classroom setting. I was impressed by the amount of changes made to the questions and the effort given by everybody involved.

Needless to say, everyone in CoRP is still learning. I think today was one of the most beneficial meetings of the year for me because it pushed me to think on an entirely new level. I left with a better understanding of the importance and effectiveness of peer review when the “peer” is actually invested in the process. But that’s all for now! Stay warm out there and, as always, thanks for reading!