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Balancing supportive relationships and developing independence: An activity theory approach to understanding feedback in context for Master’s students

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalAssessment & Evaluation in Higher Education
Early online date30 Jan 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jan 2020


Master’s students are expected to be self-regulating and independent learners. Dialogic feedback has been identified as one way of promoting such independence. There continues to be concern about the extent to which Master’s students are achieving this level of functioning. This study aimed to identify feedback practices and contexts which facilitated student engagement and independence. Working with students as co-researchers, interviews were conducted with 27 Master’s students from 3 programmes. Activity Theory was used as an analytical tool to generate understanding of feedback in the social context of each progamme. Findings indicate there can be tension between factors which promote dialogical feedback and those which promote independence, and that active dialogic feedback with staff may limit student engagement with peer feedback.

    Research areas

  • master's students, postgraduate taught, dialogic feedback, independent learning

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