Common revisions that you should expect to get from a reviewer

By Priya Chetty on March 9, 2015

If I had a dime for every time I heard any of the below things, I’d own a bank today. Even after having years of practice as an academic writer, you will find it hard to maintain composure to some common requests of your employer. Here are the most common client requests an academic writer is sick of hearing:

There aren’t enough references

Frustrated writer

I’m sure most of you would agree that this comment is most frequent and also extremely annoying. You’ve followed the client’s specifications to the T, yet he/she demands more references in the paper. How can you possibly squeeze more, at the last moment?

You haven’t explained the topic deeply enough

Enough with the arguments

This one scares me the most. I spend several hours (sometimes days or weeks) sifting through many articles to understand a topic deeply. Then I spend even MORE time writing about it. How do you not lose hope when this happens?

Your problem statement is outdated

Is this a genuine reference? I can’t find it on the internet

You’ve done the preliminary research. You are convinced that the topic you selected is unique, meaningful, and promising. You pen a proposal on it, only to find out that the supervisor isn’t convinced and thinks you should choose a different area to work on. Do you tweak the same topic, or start writing another one from scratch?

Is this a genuine reference? I can’t find it on the internet

When it comes to references, this is another one that bugs me to no end. I have, in the past, spent days just tracking the sources I used in a paper to prove that they are not forged. Thanks to Mendeley, my job is much easier now.

There is no critical analysis

There is no critical analysis

I’m sure you know this by now: you can’t pass an academic paper without including some bit of critical evaluation in it. Or model application. Or practical implementation. It took me many months to master the art of critical analysis in a paper, but I’m glad I don’t get to hear this comment anymore.

Your methodology is flawed

Your methodology is flawed

This is the one comment which makes me defend my position most fiercely. A research methodology approach is a personal choice; the biggest task is to justify it. Qualitative or quantitative, primary or secondary, t-test or chi-square, nothing matters as long as I am able to convince my client of its applicability in the paper. Still, I can never get used to hearing this.

Use better vocabulary. Professional vocabulary

We’ve all heard this before. In academic writing, there is no place for slang. The use of amateur language is unacceptable, especially for higher levels of study. As an academic writer I have consistently tried on my vocabulary in the past by using online dictionaries and reading a variety of books, but MS Word’s thesaurus works best.

Can I have my paper sooner?

Can I have my paper sooner?

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been asked this. I spend hours researching and writing each day, but I can’t skip dinner. I have date nights; I need my 8 hours of sleep every day. I’ve found that the best way to respond to this request is to explain to the client that you can’t submit the paper sooner without compromising on its quality.

Is this list missing anything? Tell me in the comments below.

Priya is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Project Guru, a research and analytics firm based in Gurgaon. She is responsible for the human resource planning and operations functions. Her expertise in analytics has been used in a number of service-based industries like education and financial services.

Her foundational educational is from St. Xaviers High School (Mumbai). She also holds MBA degree in Marketing and Finance from the Indian Institute of Planning and Management, Delhi (2008).

Some of the notable projects she has worked on include:

  • Using systems thinking to improve sustainability in operations: A study carried out in Malaysia in partnership with Universiti Kuala Lumpur.
  • Assessing customer satisfaction with in-house doctors of Jiva Ayurveda (a project executed for the company)
  • Predicting the potential impact of green hydrogen microgirds (A project executed for the Government of South Africa)

She is a key contributor to the in-house research platform Knowledge Tank.

She currently holds over 300 citations from her contributions to the platform.

She has also been a guest speaker at various institutes such as JIMS (Delhi), BPIT (Delhi), and SVU (Tirupati).