Authors often seek or gain feedback from many sources when writing something important. The feedback could be from co-authors, colleagues, clients, supervisors, reviewers, examiners or editors. The feedback can also be in many forms from correcting errors and specific wording changes to broader comments about direction, arguments, emphasis or content. But how to handle diverse and conflicting feedback to finalise the writing?
All feedback is useful but it can be impossible to address all feedback in the one document.
- Be clear about the overall purpose and audience, and any specific requirements of the writing.
- Focus on the most important elements, particularly if there is a word limit, space constraint or deadline.
- Consider what feedback can be addressed most easily and quickly, particularly if there is a deadline.
- Consider when feedback can be addressed – now or in later versions.
- Consider who is providing the feedback, and why.
- Explain how and why feedback has been addressed or not. There may be a formal mechanism for this such as a response to reviewers or examiners.
- Recognise and accept you can’t always meet all the needs of everyone involved.
Editors can help writers evaluate feedback and focus on the reader and purpose.
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