We establish feedback groups for students at the Faculty of Social Sciences who are in the process of writing their Master's thesis.
4 or 5 students studying for the same degree meet up every other week or so to give each other feedback on their respective Master's thesis. An educational advisor from the Teaching and Learning Unit of Social Sciences is present during the first few meetings. The meetings should last around two hours.
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining a feedback group.
Find out more about Study Groups in our guide: "Study Groups".
According to resarch, academic texts are of a higher quality when produced with input and feedback from others.
The academic supervisor is, of course, an important source to feedback, but supervisors do not have the time to read every draft thoroughly. Also, other students might be better than the supervisor at judging whether the communication is sufficiently transparent.
Regular meetings with other students might make the writing process easier and less lonely. You get to share experiences and good ideas and learn from other students' examples.
Two days before every meeting each student e-mails maximum 5 pages of draft text to the rest of the group. It is important that the 5 pages are unfinished draft text. If the text is ready for submission, further feedback is pointless.
Each student attaches a letter to the text explaining how the draft should be perceived and the type of feedback desired. Clear instructions or questions for the readers make it easier to give useful feedback.
Then, the group members read the draft and prepare comments on the questions raised in the attached letter from the writer.
More generally, the readers can consider:
- What paragraphs or sentences work well and why?
- What paragraphs or sentences could be improved and how?
- What paragraphs or sentences are difficult to understand?
- What information could be added or removed to make the text easier to understand or to make the argument clearer?
During the meetings, the group works through one writer's text at a time. The writer remains quiet while the readers give him/her their feedback. The writer has no obligation to follow the advice given and doesn't need to make comments or explain why the suggestions won't be applied - just listen, take notes, remember the useful comments and ignore the less useful.
The educational advisor's primary role is to chair the first few meetings and make sure the rules are followed and that each writer gets his/her feedback time. The advisor will also read the drafts and might comment on them.