Getting Feedback

A writer seeks feedback to begin the revising process. Once you have a draft on paper, you can get feedback from others about whether you have met your stated goals and whether what you have written is suitable. Although many students are reluctant to take the time to get feedback, getting an objective opinion about your draft gives you valuable information you can use in revision. A way to get especially valuable feedback is to give your instructor, classmates, or even your work colleagues a checklist of items that are particularly important to you.

You may use a checklist similar to the one presented here, to solicit specific feedback in particular areas, or use a modified, shorter list.

Checklist for Feedback on Your Writing Assignments
Planning and Researching
  Is the thesis statement clear and focused on one major idea?
  Are the intent and purpose expressed clearly?
  Is the target audience clearly defined?
  Does the scope seem appropriate for this writing project?
  Is sufficient information provided?
  Does the author of the paper or assignment consider other perspectives or address possible questions?
  Are facts and opinions explained and supported in convincing detail?
Organizing and Drafting
  Is the controlling idea sufficiently developed?
  Are the major ideas defined clearly and sequenced logically to fit the purpose?
  Do the minor ideas clearly support the major ideas?
  Does the introduction clearly set the stage by announcing the thesis and controlling idea?
  Does the conclusion return to the controlling idea and review the major ideas?
  Do the transitions clearly act as verbal signals?
  Does the author use logical connections and summarize when necessary?
  Are there mechanical errors the author should correct?
  Does the format of the paper promote quick, clear understanding?
  Do the graphics clarify the text?

Print Checklist

As you develop as a writer, you will adopt a positive attitude toward feedback and solicit it whenever possible. Three ways of gaining feedback are

  • inviting your instructor to approve the wording of your thesis and the general direction and tone of the paper you are writing

  • asking knowledgeable classmates and colleagues to read your writing so that you know how others familiar with your subject will receive it

  • soliciting feedback from people who are unfamiliar with your work and the subject you are writing about (especially helpful if you are writing for a general audience because it allows others to tell you when you are not making your points crystal clear)

Getting feedback is a precursor to revising your draft, which you may do several times. The comments of others and your own assessment of your work can become the basis for your revision.

  • Feedback on a first draft should be evaluated carefully for both relevance and accuracy.

  • When asking for feedback, it can be helpful to ask specific questions or target particular areas of the writing.

  • Although it can be difficult to remain objective, it is important to try to generate feedback on your own work.

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