Learning systematically from audience feedback
If you are a postgraduate or doctoral research student, you can maximise the opportunity to learn from feedback by being systematic about identifying and applying both the explicit and implicit criteria of good practice that underpin it. There is likely to be a lot of overlap between the various criteria you identify. Your different tutors or co-supervisors (if you have more than one supervisor) will be expected to work to the same official criteria for assessing written work for your programme of study.
It is possible that they may work to slightly different explicit and implicit criteria of good practice. But their individual criteria of good practice will still relate to the broader official criteria. If you think there is any discrepancy between the criteria of good practice and the broad official criteria for assessment, why not discuss your perception with your tutor or supervisor and ask for further guidance?
In an earlier learning activity in this key topic, we suggested how you might record the explicit criteria that your tutors and supervisor employed in their feedback (as a feedback prompt list). As you become more experienced in your academic studies, you could be even more systematic by building up a single, cumulative list of both the explicit and implicit criteria of good practice that you identify as lying behind the feedback you receive.
For example, your tutor or supervisor might give you feedback that in your account of a particular management theory you have failed to define the key concepts, so it is unclear to your audience exactly what you mean by these ideas. You identify the implicit criterion of good practice as:
Which of the more general official criteria for assessment does this specific criterion of good practice relate to most closely? Suppose the criteria for assessment were those for postgraduate written work listed earlier:
1. Engaged critically with literature in the field
2. Understood current theories and applied them to their experience
3. Demonstrated clarity of thought and quality of argument
4. Designed and undertaken a small research study
Which of these four criteria for assessment does the implicit criterion of good practice about defining the key concepts of a theory relate to most closely?