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How to give feedback to colleagues and students on their writing

May 12, 2014 Filed under Blog, Featured, Potpourri, Reviewing 


One of the perpetual difficulties with providing feedback to others is the tendency to coat the paper in red ink, leaving the author having to plow through all the comments. While not inherently bad in itself (I’m guilty as charged!), it can leave the author thinking that the 30 errors in punctuation exceed the one comment about how the text doesn’t flow from one sentence to another.

Recently, Mathew Stiller-Reeve of the ClimateSnack asked me to comment on something he read in Eloquent Science on how to structure feedback to others to avoid this problem. By following the writing/editing funnel and providing feedback on the large-scale organizational issues with the manuscript first, you can avoid the circumstances where authors make all the easy changes first, but don’t address the structural issues with their writing.

Moreover, the writing/editing funnel allows the person providing the comments to focus on one type of comment at a time.

Watch our discussion about using the writing/editing funnel to provide feedback (4.5-minute video).

Read Mathew’s blog post about the video.

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