Writing groups – getting feedback from your peers

Writing the assignment

Writing groups – getting feedback from your peers

Writing group
 

Regardless of which type of text you are writing – an assignment, a master's thesis or a doctoral dissertation – it is useful to receive feedback from others. This feedback can help you become aware of how your text communicates with its readers. Forming a writing group with others can therefore be a great asset in your writing process.

A writing group is a group of people who volunteer to read and comment on each other's texts over an extended period of time. The group ideally consists of three to five participants, to make sure there is some variety in the feedback.

Why do you need feedback?

Getting feedback throughout your writing process helps you develop your text to its full potential. The feedback gives you insight into things you would not have noticed on your own – both positive and negative. It is a well-known phenomenon that when you read your own texts, you often read what you think you wrote, but not necessarily what is actually in the text. Other readers see only your text, not your thoughts. Therefore, feedback from others can make you a better writer, and more aware of how readers read your texts.

Advantages of participating in a writing group

When you participate in a writing group, you get

  • feedback from people who are not going to evaluate or grade your text;  they are only there to help you (and to get help from you)
  • suggestions on how to improve your text
  • comments
  • inspiration by looking at the texts of others
  • deadlines throughout the writing process
  • experience in giving and receiving feedback

Guidelines for a writing group

For a writing group to be successful, it is important that all the participants:

  • write and share drafts at regular intervals
  • respect the deadlines they set for themselves and others
  • set aside enough time for the meetings
  • stick to the group’s timetable and show up on time
  • read and prepare comments on the other participants’ texts before the group meets

By following these guidelines, as well as the guidelines for giving and receiving feedback, you ensure that all participants give and receive feedback on their texts, and all of you will get the most out of your writing group.

Source

Dysthe, Olga, Hertzberg, Frøydis og Hoel, Torlaug Løkensgard (2010). Skrive for å lære: Skriving i høyere utdanning. Oslo: Abstrakt.

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