Peer Review

What is Peer Review?

Peer Review is an external evaluation carried out by peers, i.e. colleagues working in similar institutions or environments. Peer Review is used in professional contexts when knowledge and expertise in a particular field of work are essential for an adequate evaluation. Peer Review has a long tradition in the evaluation of research. In the meantime, it has also been adapted for use in other areas which call for the assessment and development of professional activities.

European Peer Review Projects

Since 2003, Maria Gutknecht-Gmeiner has been working on the development of Peer Review as a novel evaluation methodology. Between 2004 and 2009 she coordinated three European projects in which Peer Review was adapted for the evaluation of institutions of vocational education and training across Europe. 15 European countries have taken part in these projects. The main product, the “European Peer Review Manual”, which describes a standard procedure for Peer Review, was awarded the Lifelong Learning Award in 2009.

Implementing Peer Review

The European Peer Review procedure as set down in the Manual is currently introduced as an external instrument for quality assurance in the vocational education and training systems in various European countries, among which are Finland, Italy, Hungary, Catalonia and Austria. In 2008-2009 Maria Gutknecht-Gmeiner coordinated the first Austrian pilot Peer Reviews and conducted a feasibility study on the introduction of Peer Review within the Austrian Quality Initiative for Vocational Education and Training (QualitätsInitiative BerufsbiIdung QIBB).


Maria Gutknecht-Gmeiner has done extensive research on Peer Review.
Her doctoral thesis on Peer Review was published by the Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften in 2008. More

  • Development of tailored Peer Review procedures for different contexts and areas of use
  • Integration of Peer Review into quality management systems
  • Training and workshops on Peer Review
  • Facilitation, consulting and meta-evaluation