Students’ expectations of feedback given on draft writing

Shena Lamb, Zach Simpson


Academic writing is the primary means of assessing university students and feedback (oral or written responses) on writing can contribute significantly to student learning and success (Ferris, 2003; Hyland & Hyland, 2006). This study explores students’ expectations of feedback on draft writing. The research design was two-pronged. The initial quantitative aspect employed a questionnaire which students completed after receiving feedback from Writing Centre consultants who aim to give developmental feedback. A subsequent phase involved focus groups with volunteer students. This mixed methods design allowed for greater depth of understanding as the qualitative findings extended the quantitative results. The study concludes that students expect feedback to be understandable, encouraging and to focus on both positive and negative aspects of their writing. Importantly, students expect feedback to ‘unpack’ the conventions of academic literacy while still encouraging independence and originality.


Feedback; academic writing; mixed methods; Writing Centres

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

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