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Succeeding in postgraduate study
Succeeding in postgraduate study

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5.5 Dealing with conflicting feedback

You may occasionally encounter feedback in your online exchanges that is conflicting. The methods for dealing with this are similar to disagreements in face-to-face situations. Try to reach consensus by:

  • asking each individual to expand their arguments to include why they think as they do
  • remembering that basic netiquette is important in online group discussions – be open but courteous (no comments should be personal or offensive)
  • arranging to be online at the same time, if possible – this can assist group discussions, which would then take place in ‘real time’
  • agreeing to disagree (if there is still no agreement).

When you receive conflicting feedback, choosing which feedback to act upon can be difficult.

  • Make sure you evaluate each piece of feedback against your original goals. This should make it clearer which piece of feedback to follow.
  • Think about whether enough detail has been given in each piece of feedback. If lack of detail is causing the issue you can always request more. You may even wish to quote the conflicting feedback in your request.
  • Think about what you would change based on each piece of feedback. Which outcome do you think works best?

Critical feedback should be constructive, thus making it possible to act upon the feedback. When communicating online it is important to follow basic netiquette. Giving effective critical feedback online is a skill that is highly valued in academia and the workplace. Using feedback will help you to improve your work, for your studies and your employment.