About this Resource
Productive reading
Writing effectively
Who are you trying to convince?
Putting yourself in your assessor’s place
Identifying explicit criteria underlying audience feedback
Looking for feedback on what you are doing well and what needs improving
Feedback prompt list: reinforcing the good and avoiding the weak
Identifying the implicit criteria underlying audience feedback
Expanding what you learn from audience feedback
Familiarising yourself with the official criteria for assessment
Learning systematically from audience feedback
Learning from your writing for formative and summative assessment
Formative and summative assessment in writing for academic presentation
Criteria for academic presentation and developing a convincing argument
Comparing criteria for academic publication and assessing students’ work
Who needs convincing if your work is to get published in an academic journal?
Inside an academic journal editor’s world
Getting to grips with academic journal criteria for acceptance
Building your sense of audience: an interview with a journal editor
Top tips for postgraduate and doctoral research students who aspire to get published
Arguing convincingly
Mapping your field
Literature reviewing
Reviewing the literature systematically
Developing proposals

Looking for feedback on what you are doing well and what needs improving

Let us see how learning from feedback might work. You may receive feedback from your tutor or supervisor which contains both forms of comment: indications where you are doing well and where you could improve your work. Here is such a piece of feedback on a draft assignment analysing a management practice in the student’s experience:

You related your account of the poor human resource practice in your experience very well to research evidence from the literature. It’s a good idea to use literature in this way to support your judgement about your case because it shows that other people have found similar problems - it’s not just your unjustified opinion that the practice was bad or good.

But you didn’t make it easy for your reader! You started by going straight into your detailed account of your experience. I found this confusing at first because I don’t know your work context. It’s important that you help your audience by stating at the outset why you have chosen this case (for example, was it the worst practice you’ve experienced?), and then put the case into context. Remember that if your audience doesn’t understand your account, you’ll never convince them to accept your judgement.

The first feedback comment indicates how the student has done well and why. The criterion of good practice is made explicit:

  • judgements made about individual experiences should be backed up by showing through reference to the literature that others have found similar things and made similar judgements

The student is being encouraged to continue doing this in future.

The second feedback comment indicates why the student’s work needs improving and how to respond in revising the draft. The criterion of good practice is also made explicit: 

  • an account of individual experience should be introduced by giving the reason for choosing this experience and setting it in context so that the reader understands it fully

The student is being encouraged to respond by making it clearer to the audience, first, why the particular human resource management experience was chosen, and second, what the context of the experience was.

You can learn plenty from just a few brief feedback comments. Most directly, by responding to indications that something needs to be improved. But you can learn much more: by making a habit of noting what the explicit criteria of good practice are, and trying to meet these criteria in your future writing. Expert management researchers once had to learn to meet the criteria of good practice that they now try to meet without having to remind themselves to do so. The more you try to learn from feedback comments what the criteria of good practice are that your tutor or supervisor is using, the more quickly meeting these criteria will be automatic for you too.