How to Keep your Doctorate on Track
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How to Keep your Doctorate on Track

Insights from Students’ and Supervisors’ Experiences

Edited by Keith Townsend, Mark N.K. Saunders, Rebecca Loudoun and Emily A. Morrison

The path of a doctoral student can feel challenging and isolating. This guide provides doctoral students with key ideas and support to kick-start a doctoral journey, inspire progress and complete their thesis or dissertation. Featuring observations from experienced supervisors, as well as the reflections of current and recent postgraduate researchers, this intimate and entertaining book offers vital insights into the critical moments in any doctoral experience.
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Chapter 20: Critical feedback: transforming criticisms into indispensable insights

Emily A. Morrison


Feedback is critical to our learning, growth, and development as scholars. Yet, for many in academia, critical feedback has a negative connotation and evokes varying levels of defensiveness because it has become synonymous with criticism and error corrections more often than not. This negativity bias may cause students to lose sight of the more capacious meaning of “critical,” which also includes being indispensable, essential, and important. So, how can we develop our capacity to thwart our negativity bias and engage with feedback in ways that are more constructive and generative? The chapter identifies three tenets of critical feedback and associated tips about receiving, responding to, asking for, giving, and reflecting on the process of sharing feedback. It concludes with a few final takeaways for the doctoral student, including a few questions to ask in the process of drafting the doctoral dissertation.

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