A criterion-based approach to oral feedback on thesis writing An analysis of supervisor and academic literacy advisor feedback

30 July 2020

Is oral feedback on thesis writing from supervisors and academic literacy advisors (ALA) based on writing criteria, such as the MASUS (Measuring the Academic Skills of University Students) criteria (Bonanno & Jones, 2007)? The study aimed to investigate the distribution of supervisory and ALA oral feedback in terms of the five MASUS Areas. These Areas of writing were used to analyze fortnightly meetings between two L2 English doctoral candidates and their supervisors (eight meetings) and an ALA (eight meetings). The findings showed that the feedback moves were distributed across the Areas and most moves were produced in multi-Area episodes. However, compared to the ALA, the supervisors covered the Areas less comprehensively, used fewer single-Area episodes, and combined sources with structure. The article concludes that oral feedback on thesis writing is criterion-based, and supervisors can inform their feedback and develop their students’ skills by employing tools such as MASUS.