Managing Chair Feedback

Academic News & Updates
Dissertation Motivation

Criticism stinks. Let’s say it together to clear the air: CRITICISM STINKS!

Now that we’ve gotten that out, we have to figure out how to manage the criticism. Your committee chair’s critiques of your dissertation may sting at first. However, learning how to consume and apply the feedback will allow you to take your dissertation from good to great.

Opening a document riddled with comments is low on the list of activities most of us enjoy. But it is a task that all PhD students must face. When you open the document and see the feedback, give yourself that first read to be upset, bummed, angry, or any other emotion that the feedback evokes. You have to get it out, and after providing what you thought was good work, you are entitled to those feelings. Let your emotions out, and then set them aside before you continue.

The next step is to address the small errors that have been pointed out by your chair. Pick the low hanging fruit like APA and grammatical errors. These are the revisions that basic copy editing can address and probably will not be too mentally taxing. Addressing these first will also allow you to remove these comments or marks from your document and clear up some visual space. Sometimes the perceived amount of feedback makes the revisions seem more daunting than they actually are!

Next, attack any alignment issues that have been noted. For any issues where the chair has noted a lack of alignment across chapters, look at the areas noted and ensure that the information has been incorporated accurately. We have seen many cases where committee members have pointed out a lack of alignment between dissertation chapters that have been simple to address. Forgetting to update things like the purpose statement or research questions are simple mistakes that students make while managing the changes to their dissertation draft. These simple tweaks are easy to address.

The final piece is to review the remaining feedback. These should be the major changes that require a little more effort to handle. Highlight the feedback that you are confused about and follow up with your chair. Get this clarification before you address other major changes because they may influence each other.

This is also a good time to discuss your progress with your chair. Let them know where you are with your changes, your planned next steps, and anything you need from them to help you move forward. If your chair sees you putting forth effort and being receptive to their comments, they may be more eager to help you move forward.

We at Statistics Solutions are always here to help with managing this process. Sometimes an outside resource to help you brainstorm and implement changes that move you forward faster! Contact us if you’d like to add us to your team!

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