Peer review is an important form of regulation in the workplace and academia. It is a means of ensuring that everyone conforms to set standards. Many associations apply different peer review methods to maintain credibility. As a professional, it is important to understand what a peer review is and how to apply peer review methods.

What is a Peer Review? 

A peer review is a process of evaluation. It involves determining the degree of output quality of an individual. A peer review typically involves providing feedback on a particular quality of output under consideration. This evaluation is usually carried out by persons with superior or complementary knowledge with regards to the output under scrutiny.

In other words, a peer review involves scrutinising output against certain parameters in order to determine if it meets the required standard. 

what-is-peer-review

Types of Peer Review

Peer reviews are majorly divided into two types, namely; workplace peer review and Academic Peer Review. 

Workplace Peer Review 

Workplace peer review refers to a process in which individuals in an organization evaluate a worker's attitude, skills and workplace competency. 

It is an important part of the corporate culture in many organisations. For example, human resource personnel often rely on peer reviews to enable them to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the staff. 

Feedback from workplace peer reviews can help a worker identify areas of weakness. In all, if done correctly, it helps to improve overall staff competencies. 

It is important for employees to adopt effective peer review methods in order to improve employee overall output. 

Workplace peer review is of two types;

  • Peer-Peer Review

Just as the name suggests, Peer-Peer review is an evaluation carried out by colleagues with complementary status in the workplace. 

During this process, employees provide feedback on co-workers behaviors, skills and competencies. It provides insight into the quality of professional output of an employee. 

Peer-Peer review is a great way to build team spirit in the workplace. Employees will feel safer receiving evaluation from co-workers. 

Peer-Peer review is often more accurate than other workplace peer review methods. Co-workers at the same level have more knowledge about the workplace attitudes and strengths of persons in their team since they work with them, closely. 

In toxic work environments, a peer-peer review can become extremely biased. Thus, experts advise that Peer-Peer evaluation should not be an active determiner of staff promotion. 

  • Management Peer Review

Management peer review is also referred to as traditional or top-down review. Here, the manager or HR personnel carries out the review in order to appraise the employee.

This appraisal influences promotions and pay raise for the employee. A top-down review involves the appraiser and the employee, solely.

This workplace peer review method is highly subjective. This because it depends on the sole opinion and observation of the reviewer. The reviewer may be biased. 

Often times, reviewers do not have a one-on-one experience of an employee's skills and competencies. As such, he or she may not be able to give a holistic judgement.

Advantages of Workplace Peer Review  

  • Constructive Feedback

Workplace reviews provide constructive feedback on employee's performance. This is extremely beneficial for career growth and development. 

Performance reviews identify possible areas of improvement for workers. They further highlight step by step processes for achieving improved workplace output. 

  • Better Output

Following feedback generated from performance reviews, employees become better equipped to provide better professional output. This has an encompassing effect on the organisation's output and standard of service delivery. 

  • Team Spirit

Peer-Peer reviews help to build workplace team spirit. Workers learn how to monitor each other's productivity and learn how to provide constructive feedback. 

It builds up better and effective workplace communication.

  • Track Team Performance

Workplace reviews help an employer to track the team's performance. Through this, an employer identifies key competencies of his or her team. 

This knowledge is useful, especially when making hiring decisions.

  • Plan Improvement Strategies

Based on the feedback provided by performance reviews, an employer would be able to create a realistic growth trajectory for the team. 

An employer or HR personnel can utilise this information for organising training for staff.

Disadvantages of Workplace Peer Review

  • Toxic Work Environment

Workplace peer reviews can generate a toxic work environment if done wrongly. Employees can get offended if they feel attacked by the feedback of a colleague. 

Employees must be professional during workplace reviews in order to achieve the best results. 

  • Victimisation

Performance reviews can turn to a vendetta. Employers or HR personnel can provide professionally damaging feedback on an employee's skills. 

  • Subjectivity

Because of the nature of top-down reviews, it is somewhat difficult to have an objective and encompassing feedback on an employee. 

A reviewer may provide positive feedback on an employee because of the personal relationship that exists between both of them. 

Also, an employee may fail to give accurate feedback on a co-worker who is a friend. The existence of cliques in the workplace affects the effectiveness of workplace reviews. 

  • Counter-Productivity

Workplace reviews can turn out to be counter-productive. In this sense, it can demoralise workers and reduce their level of commitment to work. 

An employee who received overwhelmingly negative feedback may become demoralised and underproductive at work. 

  • Time Consuming

Without workplace tools like Formplus builder, carrying out performance reviews can be typically time-consuming. 

Top Workplace Peer Review Question Examples

How would you rate the employee's workplace output so far? 

  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Fair
  • Bad

Indicate employee's level of competence in the following

  • Analytical Skills ( 0-5)
  • Team building (0-5)
  • Collaboration(0-5)
  • Ingenuity (0-5) 

Rate employee's communication skills

  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Fair
  • Bad

Rate employee's organisational skills

  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Fair
  • Bad

Rate employee's interpersonal skills 

  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Fair
  • Bad

workplace-peer-review

Academic Peer Review 

Academic peer review is an evaluation process used to determine the quality of an academic paper before it is published in a journal or compendium. It is also known as scholarly peer review or refereeing. Refereeing allows the author of the work identify grey areas or weak assertions that require stronger validation. 

Usually, before an academic paper is published, it is reviewed by other experts in that field. This is done to ascertain the quality of knowledge and information contained in such paper. 

It is important for peer-reviewers to adopt standard review methods and minimize subjectivity.

Top Academic Peer Review Journals 

  • Medical & Nursing Peer Review Journals
  1. Journal of Community Medicine and Health Education
  2. Journal of Surgery and Emergency Medicine
  3. Journal of Oncology Medicine and Practice
  4. Quality in Primary Care
  5. Diversity in Equality and Healthcare  
  • Science Peer Review Journals
  1. Clinical and Experimental Psychology
  2. Journal of Biodiversity Management and Forestry
  3. Journal of Biotechnology and Biomaterials
  4. Journal of Computer Science and Systems Biology 
  5. Journal of Global Research in Computer Science
  • Business & Management Review Journals
  1. Industrial Engineering and Management
  2. Journal of Accounting and Marketing
  3. Arabian Journal of Business Management Review
  4. International Journal of Economics and Management Sciences
  5. Journal of Entrepreneurship and Organisation Management 
  • Engineering Peer Review Journal
  1. Journal of Electrical Engineering and Electronic Technology
  2. Journal of Textile Science and Engineering 
  3. Journal of Biosensors and Bioelectronics 
  4. Journal of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  5. Journal of Telecommunications Systems and Management
  • Political & Social Science Peer Review Journals  
  1. International Journal of Economics and Management Sciences 
  2. Global Media Journal
  3. Diversity and Equality in Health Care
  4. Journal of Biodiversity, Bioprospecting and Development
  5. Journal of Mass Communication Journalism

Advantages of Academic Peer Review

  • Standardisation

Academic Peer reviews help to create and maintain a standard for academic publications. This is important because academic papers are relied on for knowledge. 

Also, it creates an overall harmonised quality of academic content for specific fields. 

  • Feedback

It helps the researcher to get feedback on the quality of a paper before publication.

Reviewers often highlight possible areas of improvement during academic reviews. This improves the overall quality of the work. 

  • It Prevents the Duplication of Academic Content

Academic peer reviews prevent the publication of duplicate research papers. It is easy for researchers to create duplicate content on an exhaustive academic field. 

During peer reviews, the reviewer can identify duplicate academic content. 

  • Validation

Academic peer reviews validate the quality of a research paper before publication. This prevents the publication of falsified information. 

  • Interdependence

Academic Peer reviews establish interdependence of knowledge in academia. This leads to healthier relationships. A reviewer can recommend his or her research to further validate an assertion in an academic paper under review. 

Disadvantages of Academic Peer Review

  • Time-consuming

Academic Peer reviews are typically time-consuming. They can span for months; leading to delayed publication. This delay can affect the overall relevance of the research paper to a specific field of study. 

  • Conservative

Some fields of study have a minimum number of experts. These experts may discredit a research paper; especially if it contains information that seemingly opposes the ideas they stand for. 

  • Less-Effective

Despite academic peer reviews, there are many published research papers with falsified information. This shows that academic peer reviews do not entirely eliminate the risk of corrupted knowledge. 

  • Expensive

Academic peer review journals typically require users to pay an access fee. This restricts the material; leaving room for students and researchers to rely on unverifiable information in their fields of study. 

  • Vendetta

Experts may take advantage of academic peer reviews to discredit research papers from upcoming academics. This can create a toxic academic environment.

Tips For Conducting A Perfect Peer Reviews

 Without any doubt, peer reviews can improve the workplace and academic cultures if they are carried out correctly. Here are 7 tips for conducting a perfect peer review. 

  • Encourage Feedback

The primary aim of a performance review is to get feedback on an employee's overall professional attitude. Thus, it is important to create a conversational environment that encourages the employee and co-workers to open up. 

Avoid scaring off the employee or co-workers with your demeanor. Ensure that your approach to the appraisal is friendly and professional. 

Do not attempt to put the employee in a box. Allow him or her to freely express his or observations. This way, you will get honest responses that will help you arrive at closely-objective conclusions. 

  • Do not Squirrel

This literally translates to not putting your employee or reviewers in a box. As stated above, allow your employee to freely express himself or herself. Do not ask close-ended questions. Also, do not create questions with the aim of achieving premeditated responses.  Questions in a peer review should typically aim at getting honest feedback from the employee.

  • Avoid Confrontational Questions

Confrontational questions make things harder for the employee who has to undergo the appraisal. Ensure that your questions do not subconsciously accuse the employee of not meeting up to certain standards. 

If the employee feels attacked, he or she may not provide honest feedback that is needed. The employee may become defensive and this can create a toxic work environment for him or her. It can also lead to under-productivity. 

  • Avoid Sentiments

During a peer review, it is important for the reviewer to put away all forms of sentiment. A peer review is a strictly professional exercise. 

At this time, the reviewer must put away his or her personal knowledge of the employee or researcher. Instead, he or she should focus on appraising the quality of output presented. 

Doing this will help the reviewer to carry out an objective peer review. 

  • Ask Unbiased Questions

Tailor your questions strictly to the professional output of the employee. Maintain workplace ethics during questioning; that is if you're having a face-to-face peer review. 

  • Determine whether Anonymity will Encourage Truthful Feedback

This is especially useful for peer-peer review. Allow employees to provide anonymous feedback on their co-workers. This is limit the occurrence of toxicity in the workplace.

Employees are more likely to give honest feedback if they are anonymous. 

  • Use Questionnaires

A questionnaire is a good tool for gathering feedback on employee performance in peer-peer review. You can create a custom questionnaire or use templates provided online.

Formplus builder allows you to create custom questionnaires for peer review. It is an efficient means of gathering and processing large volumes of data from employees. It also provides numerous peer review templates cutting across different professions. 

It is easier to gather feedback anonymously from employees using Formplus. You can share the links to the form to employees individually. Here's a sample of peer evaluation form

peer-evaluation-form

Use This Template

  • Be Professional

Professionalism is key. Ensure that you maintain a professional outlook throughout the review process. 

5 Best Peer Review Form Templates for You 

This teacher evaluation survey template is designed for students to provide feedback on a teacher's performance. It has different fields that require the reviewer to respond to rank questions.

The questions typically cover all aspects of the teacher's professional performance. View it here: 

teacher-evaluation-survey

Use This Template

This form is designed for peer-peer review. It allows employees to provide feedback on a team member's professional conduct.

It fields rank questions that require the reviewer to rate the team member against stipulated criteria.

peer-evaluation

Use This Template

Using this employee review form template will save an employer the time used in processing large volumes of information.

It also saves employees the stress of providing numerous pieces of information needed for an employee review.

employee-review-form

Use This Template

This form makes it easier for writers to share their manuscripts with proofreaders and editors. It has fields requesting information like the word count of the text and page count.

You get all of the required information in one glance.

Use This Template

This form will help HR personnel to keep track of employee performance. It requires employees to provide feedback on their professional experience and expectations.

This information is valuable when planning the career trajectory of an employee.

Can’t find your preferred peer review form template? Signup to start creating online forms on Formplus.

Create Peer Review Forms with Formplus

Conclusion

A Peer review is an important way to get feedback from the members of your team. It also provides useful information that can be used to further drive organisational growth and development. 

When carrying out a peer review of any kind, remember to maintain a high level of professionalism. Ask questions that encourage honest feedback from employees. Do not squirrel or ask questions with predetermined responses. 

More importantly, use workplace tools that help you gather and process feedback effectively. Formplus has numerous form templates for gathering and processing information.

You can also create custom forms for your organisation using Formplus builder. 



  • Formplus Blog
  • on 11 min read

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