Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Guidelines for using reviewers’ comments

Guidelines for using reviewers' comments

Don't take criticism personally.

Your reader is responding to your essay, not to you. It may be frustrating to hear that you

still have work ahead of you, but taking feedback seriously will make your essay stronger.

Pay attention to ideas that contradict your own.

If comments show that a reviewer doesn't understand what you're trying to do, don't be defensive. Instead, consider why your reader is confused and figure out how to clarify your point. Responding to readers' objections — instead of dismissing them — will strengthen your ideas and make your essay more persuasive.

Look for global concerns.

Your reviewers will probably make more suggestions than you can use. To keep things

manageable, focus on the comments that relate to your thesis, organization, and evidence.

Do your readers understand your main idea? Can they follow your train of thought? Are they looking for more supporting ideas or facts?

Weigh feedback carefully.

As you begin revising, you may find yourself sorting through comments and suggestions from many people, including instructors, writing tutors, and peer reviewers. Sometimes these different readers will be in agreement, but often their advice will differ greatly. It's important to carefully sort through all of the comments you receive with your original goals in mind —
otherwise you'll find yourself with the nearly impossible task of trying to incorporate everyone's advice.

Keep a revision and editing log.

Make a clear and simple list of the global and sentence-level concerns that keep coming up from most of your reviewers. Such a list can serve as a starting point each time you revise a paper. When you take charge of your own writing in this way, comments will become a valuable resource rather than something to dread.

Copyright © 2006 by Bedford/St. Martin's

Adapted from
The Bedford Handbook
Seventh Edition

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