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Online Guide to Writing and Research

Collaborative Writing and Peer Reviewing

Collaborative Writing

Tasks of Collaborative Writing Group Members

At the first group meeting, members present their backgrounds and what they are most interested in doing for this project. At the end of the meeting, the team writes a group progress report, identifying each person’s background and desired roles, briefly describing the group’s technical writing/editing and production environment, and listing any questions, problems, or bright ideas that emerge.

It is a good idea to submit informal progress reports. When the project started and when it is due will determine how often those reports are needed. However, weekly reports should be sufficient. One person should act as recorder for the group during your discussion and take notes for the progress report. The recorder role should be rotated equitably among the group members. 

To plan for reviewing and revising the final draft, your team must think of ways to evaluate and edit your team writing. Address the needs of hard-copy as well as web formats if you are doing a web project. Your editing strategy should do the following:

  • identify the project’s readers, purpose, and uses

  • check citation style formatting

  • identify the ways in which both substantive and copyediting problems will be resolved

  • present a schedule for reviews and editing

  • describe how the final changes will be implemented

In essence, your team has to anticipate many of the pitfalls of writing your project.

An initial planning tool, this information plan includes the following:

  • purpose definition 

  • scope definition 

  • audience analysis 

  • objectives 

  • statement of purpose

  • tentative outline by section 

  • production and distribution plan 

  • tentative schedule for completing each project piece 

  • list of specific tasks assigned to each group member

Discuss and write this plan as a group. Your team can use the information plan to request your instructor’s final approval of your project or recommendations for changing the concept and scope of your project.

Remember that your information plan is intended to help you plan the writing process and can be adjusted as you actually write the project. The more detail you have in the plan, the more likely your project will prove to be well designed.

This report describes the project status and significant deviations from the initial plan and presents a revised project schedule. Submit the revised plan about midway through your project with a one-page write-up that describes what the changes are.

This draft includes each section of your assignment with an example of the final project design and any graphics. If you have not yet completed a section, make space for it in your draft and describe what will be in that section, how you will implement the content, and when you think it will be finished. Include a sentence or two to indicate what has yet to be finished in that section. Based on this draft, your instructor can approve your draft, make recommendations, or both.

This can be a job done by two or more team members. Remember that the proofreading stage should be done only after all the required sections are complete and edited by group members.  

No doubt, there will be content requirements for your final project. For example, a formal report might include a title page, a transmittal letter, a table of contents, the body of the report, and any appendices. Web projects should follow conventions appropriate for that type of project.


Every member of the team should plan to evaluate the other members in a brief paragraph. You will have to be specific and honest here so that your instructor can grade the project fairly. 



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Table of Contents: Online Guide to Writing