Thursday, September 15, 2016

Intermediate submission accepted, part two: the feedback

I received the feedback on my second version of the intermediate submission for the DBA. It isn't an easy read. Something which I have difficulty in accepting is that the research committee is trying to help me, whilst at the same time, maintaining their standards. If the reviewers say that something is written badly, then they are trying to help me by showing what needs to be improved.

As I have written several times before, there are two reviewers assigned to assess my work; they receive the submission at least two weeks before a committee meeting, do their reading then present their findings to the committee. Once two reviewers are assigned, they stay assigned, so the same two who reviewed my first submission also read this one, and will presumably review my final thesis.

It seems as if one reviewer is on my side whereas one reviewer seems to be against me (good cop, bad cop). Or, one reviewer gets what I'm trying to write whereas one doesn't. Otherwise, how can one reconcile the following statements made by the reviewers under the section "Literature coverage, critique and synthesis":
Reviewer #1: The literature seems to be extensive and current. The candidate demonstrates ability to critique and synthesis the literature.

Reviewer #2: In my first review I said here “Apart from the issues noted above, more work should be done to synthesise the literature. For example, instead of producing three different sets of bullet points for three different sources as to why ERP is adopted, this could be reduced to one set of reasons with reference to the authors as appropriate”. The candidate responded “The suggestions made by the reviewers have been incorporated into the text.” No, they have not, the flaws I cited above under “structure argument and development" above are still there, along with pervasive bullet points, as the sections cited above in the introductory chapter illustrate.

Or under "General comments":
Reviewer #1: Needs a bit more on the research methodology – I think the candidate needs to demonstrate he understands what the different methodologies are, and how to apply the appropriate methodology to this research problem. This will need to be in place for the final submission.

Reviewer #2: The candidate seems unaware of how much difficulty was caused for the reviewers in trying to understand what he was doing. It does not help this time by his generally saying he has dealt with the criticism but not saying how and where. In fact, many of the flaws from the first submission remain.

How much constructive criticism is reviewer #2 actually giving me? A great deal of space is given to my remarks on the feedback, which were written somewhat off the cuff (an idiom which no doubt the reviewers would remark upon); it would have been better to give more detailed criticism instead of devoting time to counting sentences to see how much introductory material. 

I am not going to get into a battle - presumably virtual - with this reviewer as s/he is trying to help me. Unfortunately, this reviewer has a funny way of doing so. I am reminded of a question on the Academic Stack Exchange in which someone complained about the sharp language used by a reviewer; one has to remind oneself of Tom Hanks' mantra in "You've got mail" - "it's not personal, it's business".

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