Saint Mary's University Writing Centre

Halifax, NS


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Lessons Learned: One Writer’s Experience with Revision

Sheelagh Russell-Brown, SMU Writing Centre

“The good news is that your paper has unanimously been recommended for publication”—these are the words that every researcher looks forward to reading. But then comes the proviso—“with, however, a few points that need revision.”

As teachers and tutors, we are advised to always precede the negative comments we may be forced to make on our marking with some positive remark. Sometimes we joke about this well-intentioned recommendation, but with this last piece of revision, I wasn’t laughing so much. The process of revision, especially when driven by the comments of three distinct reviewers, is a useful education in what our students experience during their years of university education—the frustration they feel in deciphering exactly what we mean with our contradictory demands and in attempting to retain their intentions in the face of our more authoritative advice.

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