Researchers May 26, 2020
Using Criticism to Improve Your Scholarship
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The field of academia is known for its sharp sting of rejection and criticism, but also its wonder and glory once you get through the growing pains and learning process. Beginning writers and researchers can find the relentless critiquing and negative feedback to be overwhelming, and those who take the wrong perspective quickly leave the academic world. But the idea of criticism isn’t to scare off would-be scholars - it’s to shape and mold them into the best that they can be. 

When academic criticism is used in scholarship, students who choose to learn from the feedback grow into better experts. They don’t need to make mistakes in the real world in order to learn from them; they are harshly brought up to speed through relevant criticism during their time of scholarship so that when they are on their own, they’re ready to handle the more difficult processes.

Types of Critiquing and Their Underlying Intent

When an expert critiques a student’s writing, they use similar styles to those that they instruct in the classroom. When it’s done correctly, it’s a way to guide students to prepare their text for publication by predicting and addressing what the publisher would have rejected before it occurs.

Some types of critiquing include calling the student out for: 

●      Not including enough details from the research or text to support their analysis

●      Not demonstrating their understanding of specific key concepts expected

●      Turning in an assignment as complete when it hadn’t been thoroughly reviewed for potential revisions and errors

Other critiques are intended to give a solid review of the writer’s strengths and weaknesses. Through these criticisms, the instructor guides the student in what he or she is doing well and then approaches ideas of how they could improve their work. It’s often easy to accept the compliments but harder to listen with an open mind as to suggestions for improvement.

Constructive feedback prior to any final publication is always a good idea for any writer. When the writer is able to accept the reader’s subjective opinions as those of a knowledgeable expert on the subject, they can make revisions of reasonable suggestions prior to submitting their work for potential publishing or rejection.

Strategies to Use Criticism in a Positive Manner

Academic critiquing requires both the writer and the reviewer to walk a delicate balance of feelings and a focus on impact. Writers need criticism to improve their scholarship, but that often comes at an emotional price. However, without this academic critique, the scholar may not be at their best potential, their writing will not be as strong as it could be, and the academic impact and community value could suffer. 

To prevent this, those new to the scholarly world of academia must learn how to listen to criticism in a positive manner, avoid developing a cynical perspective, and evolve with their own individual ideas of how to persevere through criticism by accepting some ideas and rejecting others.

When you receive a critical review from someone you know is considered to be an expert in their field, use these strategies to determine how you react:

●      Appreciate the feedback by thanking the reviewer. You don’t have to respond to their critique immediately. A simple “thank you” and an explanation that you appreciate their time is sufficient. You can decide what to do with their feedback later.

●      Be open-minded as you read the feedback. They may have suggestions that hurt your feelings, but are those ideas something that could improve your writing overall? Are you against them because you feel insulted, but listening to them could prevent rejection later?

●      Weed out the nonessential advice. Some suggestions will be useful, while others can be taken with a grain of salt. If you know that an idea is contrary to your beliefs in your own research style, consider it, and then file it away as something to keep in mind. It may come in handy later with a different research project.

●      Pay attention to the important parts. Essential advice can make a huge difference in the validity and value of your paper. Take the feedback that you received that was eye-opening and delve into it further. How can you expand on the suggestions? You may need to ask the reviewer for more advice or do your own research.

By using these strategies to improve your scholarship, you are able to effectively balance emotions and ego with understanding and growth.

Using Impaction for Professional Work

When you’re ready to submit your work for publication, whether you’re a student or an expert in your field, it needs to be professionally compiled. With Impactio, researchers have an all-in-one platform in which they can easily demonstrate their research, build their research achievement into relevant sections, and turn their citation and publication data into tables and charts.

Turn to Impactio for all your scholarship publication needs and reach out to a wide network of other experts and peers in the Impactio community.

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About the author
Jason Collins- Writer
Jason is a writer for many niche brands with experience “bringing stories to life” for both startups and corporate partners.
Jason Collins
Jason is a writer for many niche brands with experience “bringing stories to life” for both startups and corporate partners.
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