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Online Guide to Writing and Research

Collaborative Writing and Peer Reviewing

Collaborative Writing


When you are working on a major collaborative writing project, make sure that each member has at least two roles: 

  • The writer of a specific section of the project, and 
  • The specialist in one or more areas of the project. In addition to learning how to write this project, each team member should coordinate his or her individual effort, knowledge, schedule, and work habits with those of the other members.

This coordination requires courtesy, thoughtful communication, and dependability on everyone’s part.

Each team member should plan to write a specific section of the project—some members may write more than others, depending on their roles. Roles may overlap or be shared, depending on team members’ skills. Each student should take on two or more of the following roles:


Everyone in the group writes and revises a specific part of the project.

This person coordinates the team, organizes the writing plan and schedule (especially for group meetings), and picks up loose ends.

This person edits and proofreads final drafts, provides stylistic standards for the group as a whole, and guides the group in using stylistic conventions and formats.

Each person is responsible for researching technical topics, helping other team members with technical problems, and testing the final project for accuracy. All members must become subject matter specialists in at least one area.


These next two roles may or may not be part of every group project. However, you want to be aware of them and have one or two members take on these roles if needed. 

This person is responsible for project design, illustrations, layout, hard-copy and web formats, and the printing of the final project.

In web projects, this person is responsible for putting the project on the web and administering it

Each student should keep their own copy of the entire assignment, with all its parts, together in a portfolio or notebook as the group completes the individual assignments. The group then submits the completed project. 

Your instructor may act as manager or ask that you manage your own team writing assignment. In either case, you should plan to meet as a group and decide which roles each of you will fulfill on the team and which sections of the project each of you will write. Your group may even write a contract for each member to agree to and sign. Plan to write all or some of them as a group and be sure your instructor gets copies of all of them.

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Table of Contents: Online Guide to Writing