In today’s environment that is characterized by a lot of information and ever-changing conditions, feedback is a vital instrument. The given concept can be defined as useful information that is received from an instructor, reviewer, or another assigned party in response to particular behavior or actions (Mulliner & Tucker, 2017). In turn, the recipient of feedback can utilize it to improve future performance based on mistakes that are detected by the feedback provider. In terms of the scholarly writing process, feedback is a tool that ensures a high quality of research, promotes staying connected to its goals and prevents major errors.
Receiving and Implementing Feedback
To receive feedback from a committee member or dissertation chair, it is possible to refer to a journal review method. It implies submitting the paper to the advisor, who should decide whether it is ready for being sent to the committee members. In turn, the latter write a 2-4 page report of accepting or setting a revision. The key benefit of this method is associated with its transparency and the opportunity to understand one’s level of academic knowledge and skills (Baker, 2016). Accordingly, the student can better prepare for the dissertation defense by adjusting the existing drawbacks and clarifying inconsistencies. Another way of obtaining feedback is by asking the instructor for a meeting to discuss the response that was given by the review board. Another option is contacting the instructor via email or other online tools to have a valuable conversation. Even though some students are uncertain about having a negative evaluation, it is important to remember that dissertation feedback aims at assisting students through the journey.
Accepting and incorporating feedback are the two next steps of revision as an integral part of academic writing. To craft a well-structured paper, it is essential to note that constructive criticism suggests well-reasoned opinions, which can include both negative and positive comments. After the paper review, a student is expected to figure out what, where, and how should be enhanced, instead of mere revising and falling into the trap of observing the picture in a scattered fashion (Mulliner & Tucker, 2017). The consideration of the dissertation as a whole is still critical at the stage of revision to make sure that it goes in line with the initial goals. For example, if it is assumed by the reviewer to expand on an idea that is seen by the student as irrelevant to the chosen topic, it is possible to leave this part and discuss it with the instructor for further clarification and actions. Furthermore, the mentioned comment can be used to elaborate on more details to support one or another argument.
Beginning feedback incorporation with one large issue is one of the most effective strategies. If feedback seems to be overwhelming, it is better to work on a specific chapter or sub-topic, making the process of revision more targeted. After that, it is possible to take another main issue or focus on related minor mistakes. At the same time, Baker (2016) states that feedback given by the reviewer should be implemented across the document, which is especially pertinent for in-text citations and examples that are required to support the arguments. Each of the comments should be taken into account to accept, reject, or postpone its revision. Another feedback tip is related to leaving enough time for revision to have the opportunity to return to its several times before the next submission (Hamer, Purchase, Luxton-Reilly, & Denny, 2015). Such an approach prevents avoidable stress and contributes to a more thorough work on the comments.
Role of Receiving and Responding to Feedback
While feedback may be provided in different forms, it is an instrument of continuous learning. Thought-promoting feedback should be based on such characteristics as professional, timely, realistic, scientific, and empathetic. By understanding what other experienced people think about one’s work, students become able to learn from their ideas and perspectives. Considering that both science and practice tend to change rapidly, it is important to improve in an ongoing manner to stay competent in the given subject area. In addition, continuous learning is the foundation of performance improvement, which helps in making correct decisions and staying aligned with the goals (Odena & Burgess, 2017). Speaking more precisely, receiving and responding to feedback show how exactly a student can improve. In this way, active listening and creative thinking skills are required to develop, which is essential to properly understand and address the reviewer’s comments. In some cases, comments may be controversial or cause disagreement, and it leads to posing proper questions, which also stimulates learning.
During the revision, the comments often make the ideas and arguments clearer, allowing the readers to better comprehend them. The response to feedback cannot be underestimated since it ensures two-way communication between a student and the reviewers. Feedback escalates the engagement in the process of academic writing, thus contributing to the establishment of strong links between scholars, students, and other members of the process and promoting professional growth (Odena & Burgess, 2017). When the review board observes that their feedback was beneficial to a particular student and subject of interest, they understand that their work was valuable. In other words, the identified tool integrates the members of the academic community, in which more experienced persons guide those who make their first steps in their careers.
At the current point in my academic career, I clearly understand that feedback is a rather significant tool that allows me to prepare my dissertation, making it more relevant and well-structured. I consider that the scholarly writing process is a complex system that focuses on assisting students in acquiring knowledge and skills to demonstrate them through various assignments. In my point of view, there are four steps in this process, such as researching, planning, writing, and completing. From finding the necessary information to checking the writing for mistakes, it is critical to producing high-quality work, and all these points can be subjected to review. Many electronic databases provide scholarly articles, which are a convenient way to access and analyze them. The step of planning may involve the following strategies: clustering, checklists, brainstorming, asking questions, et cetera. The very process of writing requires focusing on the flow of logic, strong arguments, the connection between parts, and other related issues. With regards to a dissertation, these parts may be repeated several times to demonstrate excellent skills and knowledge one gained on a certain topic.
Feedback, Peer-Review, and Scholarly Writing
The critical review of the research literature can be improved via feedback and peer-review that create a friendly academic environment and promote professional growth. By the very definition, peer-review implies subjecting an author’s work to scrutiny to determine its suitability (Huisman, Saab, van den Broek, & van Driel, 2019). The procedure of peer review can be regarded as a method of self-regulation based on providing an impartial view and evaluation. In combination with feedback, it can help in timely detecting errors and eliminating them based on honest and comprehensive responses from peers. The quality of the content is the main issue to be assessed during the peer review process, and it leads to minimizing potential deficits.
For the critical review of the literature, it is important to employ an objective and non-biased approach to collecting and analyzing articles. Among some possible biases, one may list an insufficient sample size, overgeneralization, incorrect flow of logic, and others (Hamer et al., 2015). Since the literature review is to be preliminarily evaluated by reviewers and peers, these biases would be reduced to a minimum. Advice from the reviewers can be useful to include more studies or exclude those that are irrelevant, as well as consider a more critical nature of writing, with a focus on methods, arguments, limitations, along with advantages and drawbacks found in the literature. Thus, feedback and peer review offers a neutral stance on an author’s work, including pertinent comments, scrutiny to ideas, and suggestions for further improvements.
In conclusion, feedback is an important academic tool that assists in ensuring the integrity of academic works. Among the key advantages of feedback, there are its objectivity, the promotion of new ideas, and guidance for correcting mistakes. The revision based on feedback allows for conducting additional research and posing proper questions to the reviewers. In combination, peer review and feedback, which are provided by professionals of the given field, contribute to writing well-organized and pertinent works.
Baker, K. M. (2016). Peer review as a strategy for improving students’ writing process. Active Learning in Higher Education, 17(3), 179-192.
Hamer, J., Purchase, H., Luxton-Reilly, A., & Denny, P. (2015). A comparison of peer and tutor feedback. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 40(1), 151-164.
Huisman, B., Saab, N., van den Broek, P., & van Driel, J. (2019). The impact of formative peer feedback on higher education students’ academic writing: A meta-analysis. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 44(6), 863-880.
Mulliner, E., & Tucker, M. (2017). Feedback on feedback practice: Perceptions of students and academics. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 42(2), 266-288.
Odena, O., & Burgess, H. (2017). How doctoral students and graduates describe facilitating experiences and strategies for their thesis writing learning process: A qualitative approach. Studies in Higher Education, 42(3), 572-590.