Argumentation in academic writing Part 1: Taking a stand and finding your voice through topic and concluding sentences

Writing challenges us to find our voice.

As an academic writer, novice or otherwise, a common, but nebulous criticism is: “you need to be more critical”. The sentence can easily be misconstrued to mean, “you need to be more negative” or “you need to question more”. More frequently, I find, the weakness in my own writing, and that of others, is the lack of argumentation. Argumentation can best be understood as taking a stand or making a point that carries throughout your article or dissertation. One solution is in focusing on whether and how topic and concluding sentences are strategically included in your writing.

When you read “whether” did you ask yourself: but don’t all paragraphs have topic and concluding sentences? Oh, I wish it were so. However, frequently authors presume that their point is obvious and begin and end their paragraphs without them.

Yet, topic and concluding sentences are an important part of argumentation because without them, the writer avoids or neglects to take a stand. This leaves the work of interpretation up to the reader. If the reader is confused as to why they are reading particular content or draws different conclusions than those we intended, our writing is deemed non-critical or confusing.

We can use topic and concluding sentences to lead the reader through our argument.

Let me provide an example. If I am describing my husband to someone who doesn’t know him. I might write:

My husband fishes, hikes, and camps solo throughout the summer. He goes out several times during the summer and is gone for several days at a time. I work weekdays so I can’t always join him.

Without a topic sentence, you might not notice write away that you have three sentences that are only somewhat connected. The first two are indeed about my husband, but the third is not. Without a concluding sentence, you might not understand what your take away is intended to be, especially since the last sentence appears to take a tangent and leave you hanging.

The reader might conclude: “wow, this man never spends any time with this wife!” That would be logical based on what little information you have. The first sentence lists his solo activities, the second time away, and the third focuses on me and why I might be left out of the previously named activities.

My reaction would be: “that’s now what I wanted you to take away from what I wrote!” Yet, that is what happens when we leave the interpretation up to the reader.

Now imagine I had written his description with both a topic and concluding sentence:

My husband is an avid outdoorsman. My husband fishes, hikes, and camps solo throughout the summer. I work weekdays so I can’t always join him. He has found several ways to enjoy nature, despite his weekend work schedule.

Now my paragraph directs the reader to what I want them to why I wrote the paragraph and what I want them to take away from the paragraph. The topic sentence “My husband is an avid outdoorsman” sets the stage for the list of activities, but is general enough to not take the place of the content paragraphs which provide details such as what he does, how it does them, when and why. The last sentence “He has found several ways to enjoy nature, despite his weekend work schedule” draws the reader’ attention back to “avid outdoorsman” through the reference to outdoor activities “several ways to enjoy nature”. It then adds the claim “despite his weekend work schedule” to lead the reader to understand why all of the details about time and work were included within the paragraph listing activities.

Practice makes writing go more smoothly.

This simple example may not convince you with regards to academic writing, but I challenge you to look at your writing and the writing of others to notice whether or not topic and concluding sentences are used effectively and strategically. Use your observations to improve your argumentation and avoid the critique of “lack of voice”.

Working with undergraduate student researchers

This blog has been updated from one published in 2019.

Another summer has come to an end and for the fifth year in a row I have had the opportunity to work with undergraduate student researcher.s We are fortunate at my institution to have funding for students to apply to do research over the course of their four month summer break.

For summer research, students need to come up with a proposal and be supported by a supervisor. Beyond that it is very open-ended as students can work on projects in a wide variety of fields. Initially, the list of accepted students were primarily from the sciences, working in the summer in established labs with sub-projects under the supervision of a faculty researcher. More and more education students are seizing the chance to learn about research through doing.

This year (2022), my postdoctoral scholar Dr. Jean Kaya and I worked with two students: Arianna Mamer and Kevin Dang. They had two very different, but interesting language and literacy projects. Ms. Mamer examined STEM Critical Literacy, while Mr. Dang looked at Community-based ELL programs for adults. Both are working on articles for teacher practitioner journals.  Last year (2021), Jeanne Liendo researched the history of the Spanish Bilingual Program in Calgary. In 2020, Nancy Liu explored the linguistic landscape of Bilingual Program schools and their surrounding neighbourhoods to examine how their external signage reflects the languages spoken in the neighborhood. She and I presented at an academic conference in 2022 and have now submitted an article to an academic journal. In 2019, Lisa Anderson explored language learning and music through the context of a school-based action research study I am doing on the application of intensive weeks of language instruction to a bilingual school program: “Intensive German Weeks for Bilingual Education: Investigating Practices for Oral Language Development.” She chose to disseminate knowledge from her research at a student teacher conference and an academic conference and most recently, through an academic journal article under review. The first summer (2018), Janessa Bretner  interviewed graduates of our pre-service study abroad experience to find out how their teaching practices were influenced by their volunteer teaching abroad in my project: “Reflective Writing for Sojourn Preparation, Reflection, and Debriefing.” All of these students learned about research  through the processes of ethics certification, data collection, data analysis, and writing.

Here are some tips for working with undergraduate student researchers:

  1. Welcome them! I like to take them out for lunch and celebrate their achievement in receiving this highly competitive funding. In some cases,  I make a formal introduction to the stakeholders of the research, such as the principal and staff of the schools. With my most recent students, I set up a co-mentorship with my postdoctoral scholar so that they can learn from both of us and he then has the opportunity to be in a formal mentorship role.
  2. Help them with logistics – After they have their ethics certification, I may make an ethics modification that includes their proposed work. I enroll them in my shared drives for the research, advocate for them to get office space and printer access, and make sure they know how to get support for the various aspects of their research. I share my knowledge of effective use of Twitter to disseminate blogs. All of these activities provide a strong start.
  3. Make things explicit – for undergraduates, almost everything we do with research is new, so we met regularly to go over aspects of research. To facilitate the lit review, I ask students to read and take notes on at least one article a day. I ask them to blog about their learning each week and we work on accurately citing using APA. When we meet, we go over data collection and later analysis. Depending on how the student would like to disseminate the findings, I assist them in articulating their results through their writing and presenting.

What does a researcher gain from working with undergraduate student researchers?

  1. Whether you see this as teaching or service, you are mentoring a current undergraduate who may do research in the future as a part of graduate or professional work.
  2. Making research explicit allows you to reflect upon your own practices and clarifies your own understandings of ontology, epistemology, and methodology.
  3. Since the student is pursuing a related but new idea, your work together allows you to experiment with a new direction for your research.

Based on the work with these undergraduate student researchers, I have piloted research, expanded my understanding of language and literacy, and co-authored articles (with the student as lead author). I have an appreciation for the enthusiasm and creativity of this emerging scholars and, because I get them to document their learning, I have a wealth of resources to share with the next undergraduate to come along.

Project-based learning in the second language classroom

Project-based learning in the second language classroom is not new. It has been used in second language classrooms for over thirty years. In German, the term is handlungsorientierter Unterricht (action-oriented teaching). It speaks to the active learning that takes place when students are involved in projects. Experiential learning provides concrete ways for students to learn the language while pursuing topics of interest.

Group work and technology are typical elements of project based learning

In the Winter 2015 semester, I took on the challenge of teaching a project-based learning class to an advanced German class with an enrolment of 4 students. To give the class structure, I had each student create a video, a multimodal presentation and a website. The students co-created the rubrics for these assignments in German at the beginning of the semester. I supported them with class sessions on web 2.0 tools, activities to improve their German and lessons on pop culture. We profited from the support of a teaching assistant who taught lessons on translation and comic books. These classes were interspersed with peer feedback sessions in which the students reviewed each others’ work. While this was new to them, they caught on quickly. Most of all, they thoroughly enjoyed exploring their own topics and sharing their learning with their classmates, an audience of other German learners (another advanced class) and the wider world (since their videos and websites are on the internet). They learned to talk about their projects, their learning, and what they felt made a good final product – all in German!

Strong project-based second language learning courses share ten criteria. Friedricka Stoller, in her 2006 book chapter, outlines these ten criteria as:

having a progress and production orientation
being defined, at least in part, by the student
extending over a period of time
encouraging a natural integration of skills (technology and communication)
holding a dual commitment to language and content learning
having students work in groups and on their own
requiring students to take some responsibility for their own learning
resulting in students and teachers taking new roles and responsibilities
producing a final product for a larger audience
concluding with student reflections on process and product

Curiosity drives student interest in the project they are pursuing.

I used their ten criteria to assess whether my Senior Projects in German course was truly a strong project based learning course. Reflecting back, my small number of students were a blessing since  each student was able to pursue the project s/he chose. Their lack of experience with PBL was quickly overshadowed by their strong passion for their projects. The experience of designing a project-based learning course helped me to expand my teaching repertoire. Looking back, I can see things that I would like to have done differently, knowing now that some students need more structure than others and students work best when the class lessons directly support their projects. Overall, however, I consider the design of this  course to be a success and have adopted this pedagogy for other courses I have taught since.

You can read more about this experience here:

Dressler, R., Raedler, B., Dimitrov, K., Dressler, A., & Krause, G. (2020). Project-based learning in the advanced German class. In G. Beckett & T. Slater (Eds.), Global perspectives on project-based language learning, teaching, and assessment: Key approaches, technology tools, and frameworks (pp. 69-84). London: Routledge.

Stoller, F. (2006). Establishing a theoretical foundation for project-based learning in second and foreign language contexts. In G. Beckett & P. C. Miller (Eds.), Project-based second and foreign language education: Past, present, and future (pp. 19–40). Information Age Publishing.

This post is an update from the original in May 2015

The Neurolinguistic Approach – oral modelling steps for the second language classroom

The neurolinguistic approach to second language teaching has gained popularity with the successes achieved by the Intensive French program in Canada. First introduced by Canadian researchers Claude Germain and Joan Netton, it has taken off as teachers and parents have noticed that their children learn to speak the second language as a result of an emphasis on oral communication in the classroom. A colleague, Katherine Mueller, and I are beginning research in a German Bilingual School where the teachers want to develop their emphasis on oral language. For the purpose of this research, my colleague developed the following German examples:


My thanks go to the native speakers who helped us refine our examples. Here is one article we have published from our research thus far:

Dressler, R. & Mueller, K. (2020). Strategies for purposeful oral language use in the second language classroom. Réflexions, 39(2), 15-17.

German bilingual high school visit

Yesterday I visited a German Gymnasium (academic high school) that offers a German-English bilingual program. It was difficult to arrange because the school year is drawing to a close, but I am grateful to Robin Kiso at the Helene-Lange-Gymnasium for letting me visit. To make it more challenging, my visit occurred just as a storm was rolling through Hamburg and I am thankful the guesthouse provides an umbrella or I would have been soaked upon arrival.

The class I visited was German history, taught in English. This is interesting from the outset since Alberta Bilingual Schools switched away from teaching Social Studies in German because of the difficulty of terminology and the lack of resources. Herr Kiso remarks that terminology is sometimes an issue, but he will use the German terms when it makes sense. Regarding resources, bilingual programs are now common enough in German that publishers are creating specific resources, so I observed that the students had textbooks to accompany their lessons. However, Herr Kiso remarked that he often used other resources, which was evident from his lesson, where he used One Note software and an LCD projection set up to bring visual elements to his lesson. When asked, he noted that he uses technology more than most teachers, which has also been my observation in other schools. The students themselves don’t have access to a computer in the classroom and a sign in the hallway indicated that cell phones should be stowed away and unseen.

The lesson on the first German nation-state started with a picture prompt of the Reichstag. The German educational system values the ability for students to express themselves verbally and that was evident from the time the students spent discussing what they felt the building’s architecture represented, first with a partner and then as a whole class. Since this was a double class, they easily spent 30 minutes expressing their opinions in English. The students are very strong and were able to use precise vocabulary such as “intimidating”, “shows pride”, “minimalist”. Herr Kiso made a point of giving a thumbs up to effective use of vocabulary and reusing the same terms when he spoke to reinforce their meaning. These are all points I tell my students about building academic language skills in the second language classroom. The lesson further involved opportunities to make linkages between students’ current knowledge and opinions about democracy with facts about the first nation-state, which allowed them to draw conclusions about how democratic or non-democratic it was and how aspects of that government and society led to a later constitution that Hitler was able to exploit when he got into power.

Overall, the visit was very interesting. It differed from other school visits I have made in that the link between content and language theory was strongly exhibited in practice and I look forward to another opportunity to visit this school and others in future research visits.

Research update: Formative feedback research

In November 2015, I posted about two new research projects and promised an update as they progressed. Here is the update on one of them:

Investigation of Students’ Receptivity and Use of Formative Feedback in Online Graduate Research Courses – This is a collaboration with my colleague Dr. Man-Wai Chu and two research assistants Katie Crossman and Brianna Hilman. Our objective was to investigate how students react when peers and the instructor provide feedback to drafts of writing in a graduate course. In addition, we will explore whether they actually use this feedback in their final drafts.

We gathered data from one course that I taught in which students gave each other feedback on their writing for the course. They worked in groups of four so three peers looked at each draft and then I weighted in. Nine students consented to us using their papers as data so it was quite the task for Katie and Brianna to read and categorize each type of feedback and then look at the final versions of each paper of two assignments to see if the students actually used the feedback.

What did we discover? Students valued their peers’ feedback almost as much as mine as judged by the amount of each type their took up. We also discovered an important distinction: feedback can be surface-level (fixing typos, etc.), meaning-level (referring to ways to improve the content of the writing) and rhetorical (not requiring any changes, but encouraging or discussing the content). These distinctions helped us look at why students do or do not take up feedback and also revealed the peers are more likely to give surface-level feedback, which is necessary and saves the instructor from having to do it, but does not improve the writing as much as meaning-level feedback. It also leaves the question as to how much rhetorical feedback is ideal and how much is too much, since there is nothing the student is required or asked to do after they read it.

We assumed that if students got valuable feedback they would use it, but that was only true about 80% of the time. This leaves us wondering how to improve the uptake of the feedback that is given. Is it just a factor of time or are students often confused by the feedback they receive? We dove more into the literature and discovered work that suggests students need to be trained to give valuable feedback as well as trained in how to take it up. I did some training in the course, but I also made the assumption that graduate students know how to give it and then what to do with it when they get it. That assumption is not unique to me, so I think one valuable aspect that is coming from this research is the recommendation that training be more explicit and embedded in courses where students are expected to both give and receive feedback.

If you want to here more, we will be presenting at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) conference in Calgary in October

Update: the article was published here:

Dressler, R., Chu, M-W., Crossman, K., & Hilman, B. (2019). Quantity and quality of uptake: Examining surface and meaning-level feedback provided by peers and an instructor in a graduate research course. Assessing Writing, 39(1), 14-24, doi:10.1016/j.asw.2018.11.001

Curriculum development: A learning curve

This past semester I was tasked with curriculum development: taking two face-to-face undergraduate courses and adapting them for online instruction. One was an introductory course on literacy that had inquiry groups as a part of the structure. The other was a course on interdisciplinary learning which revolved around a large unit plan project.

In some ways I felt well-prepared: I have previously taught a number of online graduate courses and I had previously taught the literacy course face-to-face. This previous experience was helpful in providing me with familiarity with the course content (in the one case) and online pedagogy, which is somewhat transferable from the graduate to undergraduate level. I started with the assumptions that it is possible to adapt these courses such that they meet the same learning objectives and have the same degree of rigour as their counterparts. I knew that some of my students would have connectivity challenges (some because they lived rurally, others because they were on international placements) and I had to wrestle with planning the synchronous online sessions at a time that met the waking hours of several times zones, but those problems were foreseeable, but not predictable, so I did my best to plan for them, but knew I needed to be flexible and adaptable when problems arose.

I also had the luxury of planning time, so I was able to do a number of things in the summer that made the course design and execution easier. I contacted past instructors of the course I had not taught before to discuss with them the successes and challenges they had had and to ask them to envision teaching the course online. This proved helpful for envisioning the course, but also resulted in collegial connections which I benefited from while teaching. I contacted the Teaching and Learning Office of my university and arranged for a tutorial on producing screen capture video. Having someone walk me though new software is my preferred method of digital learning and from there I was able to create several videos during the semester.

The test of curriculum development is in the running of the course. Looking back, I would say that the planning I did paid off. There were however, unanticipated problems that stemmed from assumptions the students and I had that didn’t match. In the case of one course, the second year students viewed online learning as a self-paced correspondence course and, in the first two weeks, oriented themselves toward completing the assignments, not co-constructing knowledge among peers, as was my assumption. Although I had placed information and expectations into the discussion board of the learning management system (LMS), they had gone straight to the content section and grabbed the course outline only. That had been sufficient in their previous uses of the LMS in their first year face-to-face courses, but I had not anticipated it as our online graduate students are well-versed in online learning after the initial course. It took repeated messaging by both of their online instructors in the first two weeks to orient them toward the discussion board. Lesson learned: the expectation of co-construction of knowledge in the discussion board needs to be communicated in advance of the course (and opportunity we had as we had met with them in the summer). Students in both courses struggled with expectations around what to write in the discussion board. The temptation to write at the level of encouragement, rather than critique was strong. Lesson learned: my colleague David Scott blogged about what makes an educationally valuable  academic discussion board post and I shared that with the students.

Having adapted these two courses and taught them both this fall, I look forward to the opportunity to teach them again, improve upon them and expand my repertoire as an online instructor. I will be taking my lessons learned and including them in the preparatory workshops we have when we meet the students the summer before the courses.

Three aspects of academia that make it all worthwhile

Have you ever made of list of what you love about your job? It is a recommended activity for career seekers and brings to light what drives you to seek a particular job. (By the same token, writing down what you do not like helps to clarify if you are indeed in search of the right position). Here are some of my favorite aspects of academia and how I experienced them this past semester.

I have been working as Interim Coordinator for the newly-relaunched Teaching Across Borders (TAB) program in Undergraduate Programs in Education (UPE) at the University of Calgary. This program will enable students in their third semester of the BEd program to spend 10 weeks abroad volunteering in schools while getting to know another culture, language and school system. They will be supported by the Teaching Across Borders Coordinator and their online instructors. This support will help them to have a successful experience abroad and return to Canada to take part in their third semester practicum in a Canadian school. I am excited to be a part of this program and will post more about it as the program unfolds. For this post, I would like to focus on the three most-rewarding aspects of the role that I have worked in full time this past fall.

1. Variety – I have had an office on campus as a student, but having set up an office for Teaching Across Borders, I was also able to set up a schedule that involved a variety of activities everyday from office work, research and writing that had me sitting in front of the computer working in a relatively solitary manner, to meetings of all sorts (TAB-related, service to UPE or my educational discipline specialization area (EDSA)) to workshops and meetings around campus to educate myself or make arrangements for Teaching Across Borders. In addition, I taught one course, mentored a new instructor and collaborated with a colleague on creating a video for future iterations of the course.

2. Collegiality and Team Work –  I am an extrovert, so I thrive on being around people. Thankfully, I have interesting, dynamic colleagues that I enjoy working with. These people serve as mentors in the areas of teaching, research and academia in general. For example, the above-mentioned video involved helping to prepare an interview of a visiting scholar who was very accommodating and presented interesting, important work in an accessible manner. My collaborator is the team lead for the course, who balanced her goals as the interviewer with my goals as the videographer, while also being sensitive to the interviewee. It was a very positive experience with a steep learning curve for all of us. Some of my mentors also include staff whose roles provide support for the TAB position. I created content for a TAB webpage that involved o the staff of the Communications Office who advised me on how to set up the content, physically put it together for me and then created publicity for the program and the website by having me in to do a QuickChat Interview.

3. Research and Writing – Keeping a regular, on-campus schedule facilitated my research and writing. I set aside regular blocks for both and even participated in an on-campus academic writing group. I caught up on study abroad and intercultural communication research. I revised and resubmitted two articles, one of which has now been accepted. I also co-wrote a grant application for the TAB program. The focus of an instructor’s research and writing is curriculum development. I see a great capacity in the TAB coordinator position for research that will inform the program.

Reflecting on this role, I see these three aspects of academia as ones that make the work rewarding and worthwhile. While academia is not the only career that offers these three aspects, I consider these aspects as important to sustaining the work that is done at universities.



Knowledge dissemination in a connected world

Gone are the days of the ivory tower, with its implication that what happens at the university, stays at the university. Bringing exposure to one’s work through conference presentations and academic journals is effective in reaching other academics, but providing workshops for the public, using of social media and being available for the press are avenues for reaching the world outside of academia. I have been providing workshops for teachers locally and nationally for over five years. These are very satisfying to conduct because I feel that, as a former teacher, I provide the right balance of theory and practical application to make the workshops immediately useful to practitioners. More recently, I joined Twitter professionally, but have often struggled with what to tweet. I started observing others, whom I follow, and noticed that some use Twitter as a way to communicate recent blog posts (which I will do with this one), conference activities and recent publications. So, in the last year I have also promoted my blog and when my last article was published, I shared the 50-free download link. I did the same on Facebook, which is my personal social media, because I wanted friends who don’t have access to university libraries to be able to take a look at the work that I do, perhaps removing some of the mystery. The one chance I hadn’t had up until that point was to connect with the press on an issue related to my research. Those aren’t always opportunities you create, but rather, ones  you respond to. So, when I was asked to put forward names of students to be featured in our university’s coverage of convocation, I didn’t see that it might some day lead to a newspaper article in which I was quoted. The student was featured as a part of a focus on graduating students on the day of her convocation. I retweeted the link when it appeared on the Werklund School of Education twitter feed. The original tweet was noticed by the Rockyview Weekly, which covers the rural area where the student lives and the student suggested me as a former instructor the reporter could interview. Long story short: I had my first telephone interview and the article came out the next week. I consider this to be a small part of my  goals for knowledge dissemination. Granted, I didn’t talk about my research, but rather indirectly, my work with students. Since this is such a big part of what I do, I was honored to be asked to talk about it and it was a great “first step” for future media interviews. You can read the article here:

Formative assessment in online graduate classes

In my teaching practice, I instruct a number of online graduate classes a year. With the first course I instructed, I began in the way of most beginner teachers: “teach as you were taught”. After the first course, I reflected upon what worked well and what I felt could be improved. One aspect of online graduate courses that appeared to be missing was formative assessment. In subsequent classes, I looked at how to build formative assessment into the course.

1. I began by requiring students to provide drafts of final reports by a given deadline. This proved popular. Without the deadline, students rarely took up the general offer to have me read over anything they had written and if they did it was usually a small snippet of their writing or very focused questions. What was missing was a chance to read how the student wrote a longer piece. Once I integrated drafts on a deadline, I was able to see how the student wrote: the line of argumentation, use of citations and practical issues such as formatting and APA style. I commented and gave suggested and expected to see a progression from the draft to the final paper.

2. At the same time, I implemented peer editing. Students in online courses are often asked to comment on other student’s posts and there is a danger of “cheerleading” (e.g., “I really liked what you wrote about. . . “) In the Canadian context, this seems to be heightened by our reluctance to criticize. In the first course I implemented peer feedback on writing, all students posted their work and were asked to choose two other pieces of posted work to comment on. This turned out to be problematic. Students didn’t know how far to go in their editing and the results were superficial for the most part.

3. What appeared to be missing was a relationship among the students that would facilitate closer reading of one another’s work, so in the next course I instituted peer editing groups. Groups of three to five students were assigned to work with one another throughout the whole course, beginning with brainstorming, researching and outlining and culminating with reading and commenting on each other’s drafts. Creating these groups allowed the students to focus only on reading and editing a small number of pieces and since they were working together over the duration of the course, they built up relationships of trust. The resulting final papers, compared to the drafts, were outstanding and the improvement was clearly based on more than my comments on their drafts.

4. An added benefit of formative assessment was the privilege of reading each paper twice. Some colleagues have asked me if it isn’t so much extra work for me to read a draft that goes ungraded and then have all of the grading at the end of the course. I always answer that the grading is made so much more manageable by the fact that I am acquainted with the topic. In addition, I feel that the comments that I make on the final paper are more valuable. I no longer feel compelled to comment on minutiae that would only help the student if s/he were intending to work up the paper for publishing, since s/he would never be writing (or possibly even looking at) this paper again. Instead I can give feedback on the work that was done in light of my students’ learning goals and the degree to which they were able to improve the paper over time.

5. My latest challenge has been to improve the feedback I give in the form of comments. I recently read “Embedded Formative Assessment” by Dylan Wiliam  and have taken to hear the research on “feedback that moves learning forward”. I have altered the way I include comments and grades, by separating them physically so that the students read the comments first and then look up their grade in a different part of the online platform. I do not know if this will have the desired effect or just annoy students, but I will be asked the students at the end of this semester if it was effective. I am also trying to limit my comments to the scoring rubric only or, if I do comment on something outside of the rubric, to label it as such and only include it if it is part of the upcoming assignment’s rubric.

Improving formative assessment in online graduate classes will continue to be a goal of mine for improving my teaching practice. Fortunately, successes are almost immediately perceived and as such, the motivation to continue this work remains high.

Update: I went on to research peer and instructor feedback. It was published here:

Dressler, R., Chu, M-W., Crossman, K., & Hilman, B. (2019). Quantity and quality of uptake: Examining surface and meaning-level feedback provided by peers and an instructor in a graduate research course. Assessing Writing, 39(1), 14-24, doi:10.1016/j.asw.2018.11.001