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Using Feedback in Revising

Using Feedback in Revising

Author: Mackenzie W

Understand how to respond to feedback during the revision process.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi everyone. I'm McKenzie, and today we're learning about using feedback in revising. Have you ever wondered how you can tell if you're making mistakes? In this tutorial, we'll learn about revising using outside feedback. We'll discuss receiving feedback and responding to feedback. And we'll look at an example of using feedback in revising.

Revising refers to revisioning, or rethinking the structure, ideas, and support of a piece of writing. And using outside feedback or someone else's ideas and opinions about our writing can be useful, because it gives us a different perspective on the writing, and it helps us to pinpoint mistakes that we might not have realized that we were making. Receiving outside feedback, and sometimes more importantly, incorporating that feedback is an important part of the writing process. It helps to strengthen our writing.

Experienced writers know that they want to seek lots of outside feedback to help them to strengthen their writing. But receiving outside feedback can be tough, because its a form of constructive criticism and nobody likes to be criticized. That means that we need to be up for the challenge of being criticized constructively, and we need to be open to the ideas that are presented by other people. We have to keep an open mind about the feedback we're receiving, because it's really trying to help us to improve our writing.

It's also important for us to build strategies for self-criticism, and self critiquing our writing as well. Because even though outside feedback is very valuable to us, we don't always have someone to provide that feedback for ourselves. So we do also need to find a way to help ourselves to improve our writing through our own feedback as well.

We know that it's preferable for us to receive outside feedback to help us to revise our writing, but how do we go about receiving that outside feedback? First we have to figure out who can provide us with feedback. If it's an academic setting, such as a college class, this may be a teacher, a grader, or a student peer who's also in the class. Or if it's a professional setting, maybe this is a boss, a colleague, a coworker, or someone else related to the project.

You can also ask people you trust to give you their opinions about the writing. This could be a significant other, a parent, friends, adult children, although perhaps younger children might have an interesting perspective, or other family members. It's important to keep in mind that you want to have a handful of reviewers, a few of them to give you opinions. If you have fewer than that, you don't get enough perspectives on your writing. But if you have too many reviewers, you're getting too many perspectives and it may be difficult to figure out which advice to follow. Because it's likely that the more people you add, the more conflicting ideas will be presented in the feedback.

We can use feedback at different stages in the writing process. You don't have to wait until you have a complete draft of your writing. Also feedback can come in different forms. It can be on a physical printed out copy of your paper, where someone lists comments and makes edits on what you've written. It could be a written summarizing statement in general about the writing, or it could be a conversation someone has with you about the writing. When we have feedback, the feedback can either be constructive or not constructive. We're looking for constructive feedback or constructive criticism.

This is feedback that provides us insight that helps us to figure out how to strengthen or improve the writing. It's practical insight. Not constructive feedback would be feedback that's far too critical for us to actually be able to use. Or we could have the opposite problem. It could be feedback that's not critical enough. It doesn't give us any practical insight into ways to improve our writing. It's important for us to focus on the constructive feedback to help us to really revise effectively.

After we receive outside feedback, it's our job to figure out how to respond to that feedback. We have the freedom to decide what feedback we incorporate into our writing, and what feedback we choose to ignore or not incorporate. It's our writing and we can do whatever we want with it. But then we have to think about who the feedback is coming from, and what type of influence they have over us. Specifically feedback from someone such as a teacher or a boss needs to be taken into careful consideration.

Even if you disagree with the feedback that your boss or teacher has given you, you may simply decide to incorporate it because you perceive that that's in your best interest, even if you don't agree that it benefits or strengthens your writing. If you choose to disregard the feedback provided to you by a boss or a teacher, you need to have a valid justifiable reason for why you don't want to incorporate their feedback. Here are some tips for responding to outside feedback.

When responding to feedback, we need to keep an open mind. Whether we're looking at comments written on a draft of our paper, we're reading a summary of someone's thoughts or perspective on our writing, or we're having a conversation with someone about the revisions that person thinks we should make. We have to keep an open mind about their comments, and we have to appreciate the comments they're making, even if we don't agree with them.

Next we need to pay attention to what type of feedback it is that we're receiving. Is it a big picture idea or is it a small detail. Big picture ideas are important to pay attention to, especially during the revising process. Big picture ideas can include organization. That may make sense to us because we wrote it, but it may not make sense to an outside reader and that's what we need to be really concerned about, because the writing is really for an outside audience. Big picture comments about our writing style can sometimes be frustrating because our personal writing style or voice is something that we're working to build.

And incorporating the comments of others may seem like it's diminishing the personal unique aspects of the style that we're working toward. But we do need to take comments into consideration regarding how our style is being interpreted by an outside reader. Feedback that focuses on smaller details is often easier to incorporate. For example, if a piece of feedback is regarding a technical detail, that's easier to change than a large big picture idea that encompasses the entire essay.

The same thing is true with grammatical problems, spelling, punctuation, and formatting problems that may be pointed out by a reviewer. It's also important for us to ask for clarification. If you don't understand a comment made in the feedback, ask the reviewer to explain it. Or if you don't agree with the reviewer, perhaps seek a new outside perspective from a different reviewer to help you figure out if your ideas are on track or if they do in fact need to be revised.

Lastly, be sure to re-review feedback after revising. What this means is that after you have made the changes suggested in the feedback, review your writing again to make sure that you have in fact incorporated all of the feedback that you had intended to incorporate. Making sure that you were supporting your thesis, and that you've addressed your reviewers concerns, suggestions, and edits.

We are now going to take a look at an example of using feedback in revising. I see that my reviewer has left me five comments. This one tells me to add a comma. This one tells me to add a hyphen. Those are small punctuation changes that will be easy to make. I see that I used the word eating several times in this paragraph. Perhaps that's what the reviewer means when here she says, repetitious wording. Maybe here I can replace the word eating with the word consuming.

And the reviewer told me to use less polarizing language. Polarizing means that it's generating extreme differences of opinion. It's likely that the reviewer is referring to words such as, murdering innocent animals, and bloodthirsty meat eaters. It's possible that I can remove the words bloodthirsty, and my sentence will still maintain essentially the same meaning, and it will be less polarizing. It's less likely to offend meat eaters.

And perhaps I can rethink my phrasing of murdering innocent animals. Maybe I say it is harming animals. This reviewer says consider changing the topic to eating meat, less often. I think what the reviewer means is that convincing my audience to adopt a plant based diet may not be very realistic. But I may be able to persuade my audience to simply limit their intake of meat products. Perhaps I say limiting meat intake. But I do have to keep in mind that because this is a big picture change, these ideas are going to be present in the rest of my paper and not just this one paragraph.

If I do decide to make this revision to change the topic of the paper, I need to make that change in all of my paragraphs and that may require a considerable amount of work. In this tutorial, we learned about revising using outside feedback. We discussed receiving feedback and responding to feedback, and we looked at an example of using feedback in revising. Make sure you're not making mistakes. I am Mackenzie. Thanks for listening.