Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Peer review is a commonly used activity in cross-cultural composition classes; however, little research has investigated how NNSEs' (non-native speakers of English) self-perceptions and power relations reflect and are reflected in their peer discourse, more exactly in the use of social-interactional strategies and personal stance. In this microethnographic study, I followed two NNSEs working in dyads with two different peers (a native and a non-native speaker of English) for a rhetorical analysis assignment in a cross-cultural composition class. First I distributed a survey to the six participants in order to determine their perceptions of previous and hypothetical peer interactions, and their familiarity with the peer review activity. Then, I videotaped four dyadic peer review sessions in which the two NNSEs participated. Finally, I interviewed the two NNSEs to elicit their perceptions of the interactions with their peers. After the data collection, I transcribed the videotaped interactions and the audiotaped interviews. An analysis of the dyadic interactions revealed emerging categories of social-interactional strategies (e.g. positive evaluation, advice request, etc.) and personal stance (labeled as "the decision maker", "the uncertain", "the self-relegator", etc.), identified and classified in two operational taxonomies which I applied to the transcribed peer interactions. Through the triangulation of the information obtained from the NNSEs' survey and interview answers as well as from their peer discourse, I investigated how the students' use of social-interactional strategies and personal stance matched their self-perceptions and power relations with their peers. The analysis suggests that the two NNSEs perceived their power relations differently depending on their interlocutors, feeling more equal and acting as more powerful with the NNSE partners, and feeling more distant and acting as less powerful toward the NSE peers. Consequently, these perceptions seemed to be supported by the use of different strategies and personal stance that shaped the development of the peer review interactions. Overall, the results appear to indicate that students' self-perceptions and power relations mold their interactions with different peers.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Lavinia Hirsu



OCLC Number


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134 pages