From autopsy to autonomy in writing centres: Postgraduate students' response to two forms of feedback in a health professions education module

Sharifa Daniels, Rose Richards


In post-apartheid South Africa, writing centres exist in almost every university to address the academic writing needs of students. At Stellenbosch University Writing Lab, writing consultants use collaborative learning and peer feedback in their work with writers in one-to-one consultations. As part of a larger research project about how students in a Health Professions Education Master’s degree responded to different types of feedback, our study focuses on whether the feedback received in a writing consultation compares to, or differs from, the feedback from the class group members. Our findings suggest that in general the students were open to interventions such as writing consultations. Furthermore, peer feedback from both a class group member as well as a writing consultant was experienced as useful. The study further shows that the consultants’ approach to giving feedback was in line with the pedagogy practised in writing centres. The article concludes with measures that were implemented to address uncertainties identified in the study. We recommend that the purpose of consultations be clarified to lecturers, that consultations be integrated in the writing process before the assignment is marked and, to minimise role confusion, that consultants describe to students the way consultations work at the beginning of the consultation. 


Writing centres; writing consultations; peer feedback; postgraduate students; medical education

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

ISSN 2224-0012 (online); ISSN 0259-2312 (print)

Powered by OJS and hosted by since 2011.


This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.

SUNJournals Help