Peer Writing Group Network

Do you find the process of writing your thesis or dissertation alienating? Could you use support in meeting College of Graduate Studies deadlines? Have you found it challenging to stick to a schedule for writing? Would you enjoy a consistent, supportive community of writers?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should join a writing group, where you can be motivated and supported by your peers.

Our goal is to help facilitate the process of forming peer writing groups by providing a point of connection for UBCO graduate students.

NOTE: In response to COVID-19 and physical distancing measures, Peer Writing Group Network for Spring Term One will be hosted virtually.

Joining the Peer Writing Group Network

  • Step 1 – Fill out the Registration Form for the next intake
  • Step 2 – Within a week of the registration deadline, a Centre for Scholarly Communication staff member will contact groups to set up an initial meeting. Prior to the meeting, participants should read and respond to questions in UNC’s Writing Group Starter Kit
  • Step 3 – During the first meeting, groups will discuss preferences for working together and determine a common meeting time and location. From this conversation, groups may develop ground rules.
  • Step 4 – At each meeting, groups may set writing goals, write together, or exchange drafts, but most importantly, they will support members in making progress. Group members will hopefully see an increase in writing quality and productivity!

Registration Deadlines

  • Fall 2020: October 2, 2020

*After each term deadline, interested graduate students may contact the Centre for Scholarly Communication to see if a group would be interested in accepting new members – it will be up to groups to decide if they accept new members.

Peer Writing Groups Network Resources

Benefits of Peer Writing Groups

For graduate students, recent studies have noted that the benefits of graduate writing groups can include providing:

  • a sense of community;
  • emotional support;
  • the motivation and opportunity to write;
  • accountability due to goal and deadline setting; and clarity about effective writing processes.
    (Aitchison, 2009;  Aitchison & Guerin, 2014; Ferguson, 2009; Maher et al., 2008)
Peer Writing Group Activities

What writing groups do together depends on the needs of the group. UNC Chapel Hill (n. d.) indicates that some of the primary functions of writing groups can be to:

  • share writing and create a peer review process to offer and receive feedback;
  • do some writing during the meetings; and
  • identify key readings in the field, or on writing topics, and meet to discuss.
Peer Writing Group Typical Guidelines

If the purpose of the group is primarily for motivation and accountability, Silvia (2007) suggests that groups should meet no more than two weeks apart and each meeting should include the following:

  • whether in-person or virtual, each group member sets a specific writing goal that they’ll commit to completing before the next meeting;
  • each member says whether or not they met the previous week’s goal;
  • a recorder keeps track of whether or not goals were met; and
  • group members share writing challenges so that the group can brainstorm potential solutions.
Additional Peer Writing Group Resources

Silvia, P. (2007). How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing. American Psychological Association.

Writing Group Starter Kit – UNC Chapel Hill’s (n.d.) resource packet for starting writing groups is a comprehensive resource containing all of the essentials for getting a writing group off to an effective start.

Dissertation Writing Groups | Feedback and Motivation – Chris Golde’s (2016) blog post provides a brief overview of the primary considerations when setting up a peer writing group.

Making A Thesis or Dissertation Support Group Work for You – Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2000) provides general guidelines for establishing a peer writing group.

Belcher, W. L. (2009). Writing your journal article in twelve weeks: A guide to academic publishing success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
In order to achieve the 12 week target, Belcher (2009) encourages making a formal written commitment to writing groups or partnerships. The “Week 9” chapter (pp. 221­233) contains a feedback form that is especially useful for making the most of giving and receiving feedback.