Issues of cultural appropriateness and pedagogical efficacy: Exploring peer review in a second language writing class

Guangwei Hu, Sandra Tsui Eu Lam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports on a study designed to investigate (a) whether peer review is an effective pedagogical activity with adult Chinese students in the teaching of second language (L2) academic writing and (b) how factors such as perceptions of the influence of peer reviewers' L2 proficiency, previous experience with peer review, feedback preferences, and culturally-based beliefs and practices relate to the effectiveness of the pedagogical activity. Participants were 20 English-as-an-L2 learners from China who were enrolled in an academic writing class for postgraduate students at a Singaporean university. Data included first drafts of an academic writing assignment, written peer comments, revised drafts of the assignment, responses to a questionnaire, and interviews. Quantitative analyses of the peer comments and revisions to the drafts show that significant improvement in the revised drafts was linked to peer feedback. Further statistical analyses indicate that the learner variables of interest did not affect the effectiveness of the peer review activity. In addition, qualitative analyses of the questionnaire data and the interviews reveal a general acceptance of peer review as a socioculturally appropriate pedagogical activity for Chinese students. The results of the study are interpreted with an understanding of its limitations, and directions for further research are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-394
Number of pages24
JournalInstructional Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese ESL learners
  • Feedback on student writing
  • Peer review
  • Process-oriented writing instruction
  • Revision in second language writing
  • Second language academic writing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this