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Giving Feedback: 10 Top Tips

By Barbara Gastel | June 12, 2016  | Research writing Research skills

Greetings again. I hope you’re doing well.

On Friday I spoke to a postdoctoral fellows’ association at our university. As requested, my presentation was about giving and receiving feedback.

In preparing my presentation, I realized that many tips in it might help some AuthorAID members. Therefore this week’s blog post features some tips I provided on giving feedback. Next week’s post will feature some tips on receiving feedback.

Here are 10 top tips on giving feedback:

(1) Ask what level of feedback is wanted. For example, does an author want feedback on content, style, or both?

(2) Remember to identify strengths in addition to noting weaknesses.

(3) Comment on the work (“This manuscript seems to have many grammar errors”), not the person ("Your grammar is terrible!”).

(4) In general, express points as perceptions (“I found this paragraph confusing”) rather than absolutes (“This paragraph is unclear”).

(5) Be specific enough. For instance, say what kinds of details to consider adding, rather than just saying that a proposal seems vague.

(6) To keep from overwhelming the recipient, avoid presenting too many points at once.

(7) Consider presenting points as alternatives, not corrections. For example, perhaps ask “Might you consider . . . ?” or “How about . . . ?”

(8) Provide chances to ask questions, in case some feedback was unclear.

(9) If appropriate, help the person find ways to improve.

(10) If feasible, close the feedback loop, for instance by commenting on a revised version.

Do you have thoughts about these tips? Or do you have tips to add? If so, please post a comment.

Until the next post—


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