Collaborative Writing


S. Grief
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
National Research and Development Centre
Publication Year
Resource Type
Number of Pages

This study on collaborative writing is a spin off of the Effective Practice Study in writing, also conducted by the NRDC. The questions the researchers wanted to answer with this study were:

  • Can writing collaboratively help learners to develop as writers?
  • If so, in what ways?
  • What features of collaborative writing help learners to develop as writers?
  • How can we best support these?

The study was conducted in the classrooms of the seven teachers who took part in the study. Students ranged from younger learners referred to a Training Provider to adult learners at a residential college. Two classes were made up predominantly of students who’s first language was not English.

The researcher found that both teachers and students responded favorably to collaborative writing activities. Although the study only  lasted a few months, students and teachers both saw improvements in students’ confidence with writing and with the quality of the written products.

The article contains descriptions of the collaborative writing activities that were used for instruction and advice for teachers who want to use collaborative writing in their classrooms.

What the experts say

The piece presents a descriptive study of the uses of collaborative writing in a few classrooms and presents the benefits that teachers recognize from having writers work collaboratively. The results are exploratory and suggestive rather than definitive.

The authors appropriately refer to limitations of collaborative writing, especially for English language learners. Materials that worked well were identified and highlighted. The role of the teacher is critical in implementing collaborative writing effectively. The authors explicitly outline procedures for teachers.

Methods the resource used to collect and
analyze the data for the research:
 Data was collected with student and teacher interviews, surveys, and on-line journals.
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