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5 Tips to Understand the Feedback From Your Academic Supervisor

Every student needs to know how to decipher teacher’s feedback themselves unless they are

  • an extrovert who will stubbornly clarify each and every detail with the supervisor;
  • one of the EssayWritingService essay writers who have a ton of experience in this area;
  • a psychic who will read the teacher’s mind.

Have you ever opened a document sent to you by your supervisor and thought, “what in the world does it mean?” Feedback from teachers is capable of driving the author of the work crazy. The comments can be so general and sound insignificant, while their real meaning is that you should rewrite half of the content.

Also, you can resort to the most convenient option – hiring a professional who has seen hundreds of similar comments and can fix your work. Just make sure you check an essay service review https://nocramming.com/essayservice-review beforehand. Otherwise, this article may appear more useful than addressing a random website.

So, let’s start to decode the feedback you have probably already seen and need to understand.

“It Lacks Rigor”

These words can be used to comment on almost anything in a research paper, but more often, supervisors use this phrase to talk about methodology. In general, it may mean that the writing is of a low standard; namely, it doesn’t correspond to the academic level. Or it means that the student didn’t give logical explanations of their choice of methods.

Anyway, here’s what you can do to address this comment.

Check the Section About Methods and Research Design

It should clearly justify why exactly you chose them. Use references to the works of reputable scholars (e.g., Creswell, Saunders) or peer-reviewed studies. If the latter had a problem similar to the one you’re researching and they succeeded somehow, it’s a perfect justification.

Connect the Methods With Your Research Questions

Sometimes, it even helps students realize that the methods are not suitable. In this case, either questions or the approach should be changed. A rough example is when you want to conduct open-ended interviews to test hypotheses. Such a method won’t help you produce enough data, leave alone the numerical needed for the hypotheses.

Discuss Reliability & Validity

If you’re writing a quantitative study, you may need to prove that your data is valid and reliable. To ensure reliability, data should be re-tested, i.e., re-calculated, better not by you solely. Roughly saying, if you get the same results when the calculations are done twice by two different people, data is reliable.

To prove that your study is valid, you can stick to a particular sampling method and have a representative sample. Standardized questionnaires are also a way to guarantee both reliability and validity of the research.

“Ensure Smooth Transition”

Whether it’s said with reference to chapters or sentences, it probably means that information is provided in pieces disconnected from each other. It often happens when students try to cram in all kinds of material in a section without clearly drawing connections between the phenomena or facts.

To deal with this issue, try to read your text aloud to hear the logical gaps between statements and fill them. Also, don’t forget about adding introductory and summary paragraphs or subsections (it depends on the paper volumes) in each chapter. They serve as those linking blocks that make the text flow smoothly.

“Make It Critical”

Otherwise known as “this is descriptive,” this comment is one of the most useless ones. Many students don’t grasp the idea of what should be revised when they see it. Usually, it means that the student mainly rephrased some sources and cited them or simply retold data from their own research without analysis. What to do:

  • compare different studies and indicate both similarities and differences (between methods, samples, duration of the study, regions, outcomes, etc.);
  • critique the studies (what researchers managed and failed to do, what was wrong, what limitations they faced, and how those could be overcome);
  • compare studies with some other data (e.g., a scholarly article may contradict the information from TV news or even your own findings from a survey).

“Use Primary Sources”

Usually, this comment appears in the Results section of a paper or in feedback on a whole thesis or coursework. If you don’t use primary sources in your work at all, there is little to no contribution. So, make sure to use:

  • official reports;
  • articles based on experiments, tests, interviews, and surveys (not literature review articles);
  • books introducing theories (often written by the theories’ authors);
  • scripts of interviews;
  • conference papers;
  • policies;
  • governmental documents;

“Voice of the Author”

If you receive feedback saying that this “voice” is missing, check the passage for the content it contains. Pay attention to its origin. Did you mainly list well-known facts, add fillers, and cite a bunch of sources? That’s it.

So-called “lack of voice” is basically a brother of descriptive writing and connected with the way you structure passages. Each of them should start with an opening statement or a distinctive idea, contain facts, and present your analysis.

Of course, you can start a paragraph with presenting statistics as well. Just make sure you don’t pile it up with numbers without giving a bit of your own analysis. Comment on the cause-and-effect link, compare the numbers with earlier years or other countries. Be present in your writing.

To Sum Up

Finally, it’s worth getting back to one of the first points mentioned in the introduction. Even if you’re not an extrovert, asking your professor would be the safest option for you. Sure, not all teachers engage in a discussion that eagerly, but at least you’ll know you have tried. After that, you can follow the tips above with confidence.