Normally you are trying to find resources that have been peer-reviewed; now, you are the ones performing the peer review!
For academic journals, the peer-review process is to make sure that the research methods and findings of a paper are accurate and make sense. If the reviewers determine that the paper is not fit to be published, they recommend that it is not published.
For this project, everyone who wishes to publish their paper can do so; therefore, your peer review is to make sure that these papers are the best they can be. In this stage, you are looking at the content of the paper--save the grammar and spelling for the copy-editing.
The list above may seem overwhelming; give yourself enough time to consider each point. This step-by-step process is a suggestion to how you can go through the paper. Depending on how you work, you may want to go over the paper more than twice.
Be specific. For example, if there is no clear thesis or research question, indicate which sentence you think was intended to be the thesis statement, and where you expected to find it.
Be helpful. The point of this exercise is to make sure that your papers are high quality, so you want to make sure your comments will help your classmate improve their paper.
Be clear. For each comment, indicate the page or paragraph you are talking about. Make sure that your advice makes sense.
Be kind. Remember that these are your classmate's papers. While you should provide honest feedback so the paper can improve, make sure your criticism is constructive. Critique the paper, not the author. Phrase your comments as suggestions rather than commands.
Point out the strengths of the paper as well as the weaknesses. Don't just focus on the negatives; many elements of the paper will be worthy of praise. Indicating these will help the author know what they are best at and feel confident about the rest of their paper.
These resources were fundamental in creating this guide.