You may not always be clear about what is meant by the feedback you receive. Here are some of the more common comments students receive from instructors, and what those comments mean.
You need more evidence to support your argument.
You have expressed some ideas relating to the assignment topic. You now need to refer to research or theory from your reading that supports those ideas, remembering to cite your references.
Where is your argument?
You have not clearly stated your position in relation to the question or presented a structured case to justify that position. Each point you want to make needs to be clearly and explicitly stated.
Too much reliance on references.
While you have demonstrated that you have researched the topic and included ideas from your reading, you also need to be clear about what position you take in relation to the topic and what points you want to make. State your points and use the reference material to back them up.
You have included material from other sources without referencing it properly. Every time you include the words or ideas of others as a direct quote, a paraphrase, or a summary, you need to acknowledge them by referencing appropriately.
Insufficient analysis of the issues.
You have probably described the issues (e.g. answered the question what?). You also need to comment on those issues: What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are the similarities and contradictions in various ways of looking at them? What is the impact of these issues? What are the implications? Consider some other “w” questions – Why? How? What if? So what?
Link your ideas to theory.
You may have given practical or real-life examples relating to the question. You need now to comment on those examples in relation to the theory. What theories are relevant to your ideas or examples? Do the theories totally fit with your ideas? What aspects of different theories do or do not apply? Why and how?