Anonymizing the Peer Response Process: An Effective Way to Increase Proposed Revisions?

Joe Garner
International Christian University

Oliver Hadingham
Rikkyo University

Published in 2019



An important drawback of peer response in L2 writing classes is a reluctance to
be sufficiently critical of a classmate’s writing, particularly with students from
cultures that value group harmony. Anonymization of peer response is commonly
proposed as a means of overcoming this problem. The current action research project examined the effect of anonymizing the peer response process on the number
of proposed revisions made by students from eight undergraduate writing classes
at a private university in Tokyo. It also examined the students’ attitudes towards the
peer response process. The findings revealed that the anonymization of the process
had significant impact on the less proficient students’ propensity to recommend
revision; however, this was not the case for students of a higher proficiency level.
Students at both levels felt more comfortable with the peer response process
when it was anonymized. The pedagogical implications of anonymizing the peer
response process are discussed.