What can feedback do?

What can feedback do?

In our study, we learned that feedback provides writers with insights about their own writing, which can help them learn what audiences need.

Can feedback (really) make better writers?

Receiving feedback provides a way to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of our writing. Giving feedback likewise allows good writers to consider different approaches and perspectives about writing.

What about peer review?

Peer review can help us improve as writers because receiving suggestions from others as well as reading and responding to what others have written can improve the ability to see problems in one’s writing.

Check out Sidney’s perspective on peer review:

Okay. Yeah, so the class was structured that you wrote three eight to ten page personal essays throughout the semester, and you got workshopped once for one of those three essays. It was a lot of personal writing, but it was also a lot of reading, peer editing, and coming in and workshopping. I really enjoyed that class for that reason. People—the first week, no one was really sure. ‘Oh, what are we gonna write about,’ but people started to write about really real things. It was a very, very interesting class to be in, and it made me respect a lot of people that I didn’t know to hear about what they were going through and what they were writing about. I think [instructor] did a really good job of creating a space where we could all talk about things like that. I think he did a good job structuring the peer editing sessions where they were constructive and they weren’t everyone was saying, ‘Oh, great job.’ You got honest feedback, but it was a safe space where people were also telling you what they liked, and you felt okay bringing big ideas to the table….I think I learned a lot, like I said, from having to write those there essays and realizing that people didn’t know me as well as people from home did, so I had to be more specific about my background for my personal pieces to make sense. Then, also, I learned a lot from reading other people’s pieces and the styles and the choices that they made, so it was a great class. I really liked it. Probably one of my favorites at U of M.


Writers can improve through feedback by considering what they can learn from it. Trusting others with writing is not easy, but it can provide useful perspectives and insights.