My article saw some major revisions in Week 8. The combined activities of editing my introduction, conclusion, and revisiting my literature review, title, and abstract helped me address some lingering questions about my paper’s organization. Originally, my introduction contained the briefest of literature reviews, which I expanded on in each section. I liked this structure and thought it served my purpose well. After revising my article, I found that this structure didn’t really work, not only because the literature and my interventions in it were more intertwined than I initially realized (and therefore meant it made for sense for it all to appear together), but also because I realized that the article I said I would write in the introduction wasn’t the article I ended up writing. It was there in parts, but it was obvious that my paper changed from proposal to final product, and I hadn’t adequately adjusted my literature review or section arguments to reflect that.

Given that, my paper is a bit in shambles, so my writing partner and I decided to take two weeks for Week 9, which will allow me to get my paper in order before getting down to the tasks, which are all about feedback. Like making sure your paper has a good structure, learning how to give, receive, and use feedback is one of the more important writing (and life, really) skills students and professionals need to develop. In the writing course I teach for, students are required to do a peer review of the rough drafts of their final papers. Since we operate in the quarter system, it’s difficult to give students the time and space to really learn how to give, receive and make use of the feedback, so I try to create activities throughout the quarter that encourages them to develop these skills. In particular, something I’ve run into with students is that they tend to 1) be able to identify surface problems fairly easily, but have more difficulty in identifying solutions, as well as deeper problems with the paper 2) get defensive about their work, and thus not listen to the feedback, and 3) get overwhelmed by the feedback and don’t know how to incorporate it into their final papers effectively. Of course, these problems aren’t limited to students (or, for that matter, people who write academically), so Belcher gives helpful advice on how to — and how not to — give, receive, and use it.

Week 9 tasks:

  • Day 1: Read through page 229 and start documenting your time.
  • Day 2: Read pages 229 to 230, share your article, and get feedback. In addition to sending your article to a professor in your field (ideally, if possible and applicable, the professor who recommended you submit this paper for article), she recommends doing a paper exchange with a colleague. Since I’m working on this paper with a partner, we’ll be making the exchange (Belcher does suggest doing this in person and making it social by getting together and reading together, but since both of us are abroad, and abroad in different countries, this isn’t a possibility). I may also send it to a friend who’s spent some time in academia but isn’t anymore and is always willing to provide me with good feedback.
  • Day 3: Read page 230 and make a list of tasks that remain to be done (Belcher here also recommends that if there are activities you haven’t done yet — e.g., written your inquiry letter to the editor from Week 4 — you can do those now).
  • Day 4: Read pages 230 to 231 and revise your article according to the received feedback.
  • Day 5: Continue revising your article as needed.

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Do you have any tips or suggestions for giving and receiving feedback?

For all posts related to this project: Week 0 (Introduction), Week 1 (The writing plan), Week 2 (Getting started), Week 3 (Arguments), Week 4 (Choosing a journal), Week 5 (Literature review), Week 6 (Article structure), Week 7 (Evidence), Week 8 (Strengthening the intro and conclusion), Week 10 (Editing), Week 11 (Finalizing the article), Week 12 (Send!)