The PEER Toolkit project

Project Summary

The PEER Toolkit project will package and disseminate the findings of the PEER project by developing a 'how-to' guide on peer review and other support materials for those wishing to implement peer review in a classroom, department or institution.

Peer review is defined here as a procedure whereby students review other students' work and provide a feedback commentary on it. Usually this involves students both in producing feedback reviews for peers and in receiving feedback reviews from peers. The PEER Toolkit project team believe that both producing and receiving reviews can significantly enhance student learning although in qualitatively different ways.


The PEER Toolkit project is funded by JISC under its e-Learning Embedding Benefits Programme (  Projects funded under this programme will embed the outputs and outcomes of earlier successful funded projects into institutions in higher and further education and the skills sector.  The PEER toolkit project builds on the earlier PEER project.

Main Project Outputs

  1. A guide for practitioners wishing to implement student peer review processes in their modules and courses supported by technology. This 'how-to' guide provides a rationale for peer review, case examples of practice and the research evidence of the learning benefits of the implementation of peer review. These PEER Toolkit web pages, taken together, constitute the 'how-to-guide'.
  2. Importantly, this guide for practitioners also includes a set of principles of good peer review practice. These were drawn from a synthesis of the research literature and are intended to support practitioners as they design peer review activities.
  3. The peer review principles have also been packaged as a set of conceptual artefacts (cards) that, together with a time-sheet artefact, can be used in workshops by academic staff as they collaboratively design sequences of peer review activities. 
  4. Face-to-face workshops were used to get feedback from stakeholders on the peer review resources that were produced. 
  5. A set of resources on peer review are also being produced for and with students through a collaboration with the University of Strathclyde’s Student Association Vice President (Education and Representation),  Specifically, a leaflet is being produced which will help share the new thinking about the value of peer review for students' own learning and development.
  6. The PEER Toolkit project also involved sharing findings through webinars and conference presentations (see final report).
  7. A number of research publications on peer review were produced during the timeline of this project  and the original PEER project (Nicol, 2010: Nicol, 2011: Nicol, 2013a; Nicol, 2013b: Nicol, Thomson and Breslin, 2013) See
  8. A briefing paper is currently being prepared for senior/middle managers on how to encourage the roll-out of improved feedback practices using peer review processes across a faculty or institution.

Project Staff

Ms Catherine Milligan, Head of Learning Technology Enhancement, University of Strathclyde

David Nicol, Emeritus Professor of Higher Education, University of Strathclyde

Ms Caroline Breslin, Learning Technology Adviser, University of Strathclyde,

Dr Sue Barnes, Learning Technology Adviser, University of Strathclyde,

Aidan Johnston, Learning Enhancement Adviser, University of Strathclyde,



The PEER Toolkit Project plan and Final Report


The PEER project

The PEER project investigated the learning benefits that result when students engage in planned peer review activities.


Scope of these pages

These PEER Toolkit web pages will help address the following questions:

  • Why engage students in peer review activities?
  • How should one introduce and prepare students for peer review?
  • What software can help support the efficient implementation of peer review?
  • What are the benefits for students of reviewing and receiving reviews?
  • How should one design peer review activities?
  • Can you point me to some good examples of implementation?
  • What are the common pitfalls in implementation?
  • How might one go about implementing peer review across a whole institution?

Research papers resulting from the PEER projects

Download papers

Learning and Teaching Conference, University of Glasgow, April 2-3 2019: Download article below:

Nicol, D. (2018)  Unlocking generative feedback through peer reviewing. In V. Grion & A. Serbati (eds) Assessment of learning or assessment for learning; Towards a culture of sustainable assessment in higher education, e-book, Pensa Multimedia Editore, Italy.  ISBN volume 978-88-6760-S/e-book ISSN collana 2420-904X

Nicol, D.J., Thomson, A and Breslin, C. (2014) Rethinking feedback practices in higher education: A peer review perspective, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(1), 102-122

Nicol, D (2014) Guiding principles of peer review: Unlocking learners’ evaluative skills.  In C. Kreber, C. Anderson, N. Entwistle, and J. McArthur (eds), Advances and Innovations in University Assessment and Feedback, Edinburgh University Press. 

Nicol, D. (2011) Developing students' ability to construct feedback, QAA Enhancement Themes, Graduates for the 21st Century Scotland.

See highlighted resources here