“Commenting on your work is a waste of time only!”: An appraisal-based study of evaluative language in supervisory feedback

M. Neupane Bastola, Guangwei Hu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Research on supervisory feedback on master's theses, especially attitudinal stances conveyed in such feedback, is thin on the ground. Students’ construal of their supervisors’ attitudes, however, can have a profound impact on their engagement with supervisory feedback. Drawing on the appraisal framework, which characterizes attitudinal meanings in terms of affect (i.e., emotional responses), judgement (i.e., normative evaluation of human behaviors) and appreciation (i.e., aesthetically-/socially-based evaluation of objects and products), this study examined Nepalese supervisors’ attitudinal stances communicated in written comments on master's thesis drafts (n = 76) submitted by English-as-a-foreign-language students and oral feedback on proposal and thesis defences (n = 89). Quantitative analyses revealed that while instances of appreciation dominated in the supervisors’ use of evaluative language, judgements were also frequent, with affective responses trailing far behind. In both the oral feedback and written comments, significant disciplinary variations were observed for certain types of judgment and appreciation. These findings are discussed in terms of disciplinary culture and the potential impact of the attitudinal stances on students’ learning. Implications are derived for the productive framing of supervisory feedback to facilitate students’ feedback uptake.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100962
JournalStudies in Educational Evaluation
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Appraisal framework
  • Master's thesis
  • Nepalese higher education
  • Supervisors’ attitude
  • Supervisory feedback

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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