To review my project, I enlisted the expertise of three peers. Before showing them my project, I explained that it is still in its preliminary stages and has a long way to go before completion. Mainly, I wanted to glean whether or not my project would be taken seriously as a way of presenting a historical argument, and whether my portrayal of multiple voices would be irritating or amusing–and how distracting it would be to audiences. Therefore, the three questions I asked of my peer reviewers were:
- Does the medium of presentation (a podcast with simulated “time travel”) detract from my credibility as a historian, and/or that of the historical argument?
- How effective is my use of (albeit very amateur) voice acting in the podcast? In other words, is it irritating or amusing, and does it distract you from the content of the podcast?
- Do you have any suggestions for the improvement of this project?
To present my project to my reviewers, I read the portion of the script that I have already prepared. Then, I asked them to respond to the questions.
The first question received unexpected responses. While I was reading my script, I was particularly conscious of the unconventional elements of my project, and I was worried the audience would not take my argument seriously, or that it would be overshadowed by the dramatic flair. However, my peers responded, “I think you’re good” and “I don’t think so,” and didn’t elaborate any further.
The second question evoked more detailed responses. One peer reviewer said that she appreciated the voice acting because it facilitated differentiation between the interviewer (me) and my guest (Mary Hooker Cornelius), but that Cornelius’s character became annoying after a while. Another peer praised the acting element because it was funny, but admitted that it can be kind of distracting. The third peer concurred with this observation. She recommended that I include the acting, but use a voice that is different enough from my own to allow differentiation, but not make Cornelius’s character as much of a caricature.
In response the third question, one peer (Yiyao Xie, a native Chinese speaker), confessed that she had trouble understanding the podcast. However, she thinks this is due to difficulties understanding fast-paced, complex English about an unfamiliar subject. Another peer simply recommended my removal of a part that she found “kind of unnecessary.” The third peer advised that I make a clear thesis. I will take this advice into consideration; however, I want to work on making my argument clear without explicitly declaring it to be my thesis. Overall, they found the podcast to be enjoyable and do not suggest any major changes.