Getting feedback

Get as much feedback as you can.

But before you ask for feedback make sure the paper is as polished as you can make it. This is because the reader will inevitably be distracted by the obvious blunders in spelling, grammar and form. Because of this they may fail to see the more substantive problems

The shot gun parallel approach
Give a copy to as many people as you can think of, at the same time.

The serial approach
Give a copy to one or two people, revise it, give it to one or two others etc.

Advantage: Takes less time. Disadvantage: Takes more time. 2 or 3 weeks is common.
Disadvantage: 
  • You may find that all your readers spot the same obvious mistakes and, that because of this, they fail to spot the same key flaws.
  • Once you fix these problems what do you do next? Ask everyone to read it again. Readers are often less focused the second time. What if two rounds are not enough? Readers can quickly become annoyed. That is the last thing you want!
Advantages:

This can be really effective if you carefully select the best sequence of readers.

  • The first stage readers should be good at writing. They need not know much about the field.
  • The middle stage should be experts in the field. They need not be good at writing.
  • The last stage should involve readers who are good at both.

Copyright 1995
Tutis Vilis
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
University of Western Ontario
London Ontario Canada

Created 28 Sept 1995
Last updated 10 January 2007
Comments welcome: tutis.vilis@schulich.uwo.ca