UC Irvine — Information & Computer Science — ICS 139W — David G. Kay
Influencing Policy: Peer Review Guidelines
As you read and comment on each paper, keep in mind the purpose
and audience of the paper (that is, to convince policy makers to support
the author's point of view and to take some action in furtherance of
Read the outline—not the paper (yet)—and
write the answers to these questions:
What is the issue? What is the author's
position--what does the author want the policy maker to do? Is the recipient
the right person to take that action?
Do the author's points actually support
the conclusion? Are there missing points or hidden assumptions that the
author didn't list?
Are there flaws in the author's logic?
That is, if you accept the premises, does the conclusion follow
logically? If not, how would you correct the reasoning?
If you disagree with the author's position,
presumably it's because you don't accept his or her premises. Which
ones don't you agree with?
If you agree with the author's position,
which of the premises will the author's opponents most likely disagree
Now read the letter and write answers to these
Does the organization of the letter match
the organization of the outline? Where do they diverge?
Does the prose in the letter accurately reflect
each point in the outline?
Does the prose in the letter adequately support
each point in the outline? How well does the letter explain the basis for
How well does it anticipate possible objections?
Does the author engage in emotionalism, name-calling,
or other flaws of argumentation?
Does it follow the appropriate tone, style,
and form of address for a letter to a policy maker? Does it read more like
an essay or a research report?
Does it do the job? Are you convinced by
the reasoning? What would make the case stronger? What needs to be improved
before the author could actually send the letter?