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:
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:
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.