Collaborative Writing: Process, Strategies & Advantages

Collaborative writing is mentioned as document preparation and production done by more than one writer. Collaborative writing is also mentioned as group writing and is considered as the main element in business environments.

Collaborative Writing Vs Individual Writing

A collaborative writing is one which starts outside the classroom or by a group of people.

It is mainly on collaborative writing that many organizations depend on. With collaborative writing, they make sure that their outer communications are instantly compiled, correct and coordinated.

Collaborative Writing

Ones who possess the capability to become self-supporting poets can choose for individual writing. There are many researchers who have concluded that texts produced through collaborative writing are more accurate when compared to individual writing texts.

There are various studies too which have compared the quality of compositions by using accuracy, complexity, fluency or through scores.

The accuracy was perfect when writing was done in a collaborative manner than in an individual way. Idea stimulation happens in collaborative writing and may not be in individual writing.

During the collaboration process when an individual shares his idea to the group it would really add to others ideas and the thoughts have more chances to expand from there.

When individual writing is considered, there may be a single clue where writers need to decide on their own.

The enhanced degree of creativity popped up when groups worked together in collaborative writing than in individual writing.

When collaborative writing is considered there is shared responsibility amongst people, more and more ideas would be generated and a good relationship would be developed amongst the group.

In individual writing, everything would be under your responsibility as you would write alone. In collaborative writing, the writers have to work on others schedule and if one of the writers is out for an emergency or sick the writing is paused.

There would definitely be a clash in writing styles if one is a pantser and other is a planner. In collaborative writing, the feeling would be more real than individual writing.

Collaborative Writing Process:

When a complete team contributes to writing any assignment then it is mentioned to be collaborative writing.

The key elements for successful collaborative writing are planning, leadership, division of labor, effective communication, sharing of responsibilities for results and more.

When collaborative writing is considered, planning, frequent communication, and coordination are mandatory.

If all these major elements are utilized in the right way, collaborative writing can yield you cherished experience and stunning results.

There are a few steps to be followed in a collaborative writing process. They are as follows.

Pre-writing process:

In this process, the team gets together, shares ideas and brainstorm together. They also formulate an argument or draft thesis. The final outcome, the way it should look, its purpose and intended audience should be planned.

Planning and logistics:

The project is divided into sections and assigning the project to writers is accomplished.

They should think about the final outcome of the project, arrange for meetings and schedules too.

Research data/collection:

The required sources and way to gather the sources are to be found out.

The writers are to be assigned for reading and processing of information. Finally, there should be an analysis of the data.

Drafting/ writing:

Every group member is assigned a particular section of the project. The text is composed where the team meets for collaboration.

Revising/ editing/ proofreading:

When sections of the document are drafted in a separate way. They are then merged in order to get a single document. They need to revise the structure and ideas of the paper.

Proofreading is also done to check for punctual errors, typo mistakes, formatting issues, spelling errors, and grammatical mistakes.

There are few techniques or strategies which need to be followed in a collaborative writing process. When any writing plan is considered, they need to follow the below-mentioned process.

  • Description of the writing project
  • Outline of the content
  • Strategy for success
  • For each section, content responsibilities must be assigned
  • Schedule for completed parts
  • Editing as well as revising the process
  • Production data

There are other aspects too which the collaborative team should discuss and resolve.

  • Meeting plan and plans if someone is away from the project
  • Sending and receiving of the project in an effective manner
  • In case if any writer has dropped out, then drafting a plan
  • Evaluation of one another and their expected grade
  • Resolving differences of opinion
  • Roles for all the group members

The collaborative writers should make sure to exchange their contact details and also make a discussion about technical considerations.

They should make plans about merging projects to make it a single project. They need to discuss the software graphics and word processing to be used and the specific style guide to be followed.

Collaborative Writing Strategies:

Collaborative writing has been a major element for business and academic research for about two decades.

There are many strategies and they differ from author to author. Let’s run through a few of these strategies.

There are 5 collaborative writing strategies according to Lowry et al.

Single author writing:

This means that a single writer writes representing the complete team. A single author writing takes place when the writing is simple.

Parallel writing:

Parallel writing is another type of collaborative writing where the document or assignment is separated into several portions and each individual work on their assigned part.

Horizontal division parallel writing and stratified division parallel writing.

When the former is considered the task is parted into sections where every member takes responsibility for the development of the assigned section.

In the latter, the responsibility for the project development is divided amongst group members and a variety of roles are assigned for all members.

For example, few assigned roles are facilitator, editor, team leader, or author.

Sequential single writing:

In this type of writing a single group, a member writes at a time. A part of the document is assigned to every team member and they write and pass on to the next member.

Mixed mode:

In this form, more than two strategies of writing are mixed.

Reactive writing:

In order to develop the project, the team members sync. They adjust and react to each other’s contribution made.

There are 5 more strategies for collaborative writing proposed by Engle and Onrubia.

1. ‘Cut and paste’ parallel construction:

A varied part of the completed assignment is contributed by each team member and the development of the final project is done by juxtapositioning of the varied parts without the interference of other authors.

2. Sequential summative construction:

Any single member of the group would submit a document which represents the partial, initial or complete offer for the task. Here the other members would add their part to the project without altering the previously drafted one.

3. ‘Puzzle’ parallel construction:

There will be an initial document presented which is partly or entirely completed and this is contributed by every group member. By means of juxtapositioning, the final document is made complete.

4. Sequential integrating construction:

There would be an initial document which is represented by a single group member. The other group writers would contribute their part by providing alterations and their agreement with the previous work.

5. Integrating construction:

By means of synchronic discussion through chat, writing of the document is based. There would be a number of revisions and reaction through comments. There would also be changes and inclusions made by other writers.

There are 3 more strategies which are proposed by Rigano and Ritchie

Lead writing:

In this type, one individual drafts the writing and it would be amended by others.

Turn writing:

This category of writing is mentioned to be more cooperative than collaborative writing.

Here varied sections of texts are contributed by the authors and the lead author has the power to merge and harmonize them.

Writing together side by side:

Two or more individuals compose a text where they negotiate, think and refine the content loudly. There would be one who is assigned as scribe or gatekeeper for the writing.

Advantages of Collaborative Writing:

In order to maintain elevated standards of working, businesses are switching to collaboration. Collaborative writing is a practiced followed and in this process, more than one individual contributes for a writing process.

1. Quality assurance:

At times of proof-reading and editing collaboration is important as single readers cannot find mistakes easily. Hilariously bad writing can be avoided by following collaborative writing. Hence quality is assured when collaborative writing is followed.

2. Continuous improvement:

Writing is improved when a team collaborates. There is instant improvement when quick feedback is obtained. Any writing which is bad cannot live long. Hence there is enhanced improvement when collaborative writing is considered.

3. Innovation:

More innovative ideas pop up when collaborative writing is achieved. The writers are also pushed to think more in case of collaborative writing. With collaborative writing, the team comes up with more ideas and clear concepts which lead to innovation.

4. Division of labor:

A bigger project can be broken down into smaller tasks and writers can work on them individually. The work is distributed in an equal manner and each assigned writers are responsible for their contributions made.

5. Many proofreaders:

In a collaborative team, there are multiple proofreaders where editing and writing are done many times and checked too.

Disadvantages of Collaborative Writing:

1. Work area conflict:

There would definitely be working style conflict of individuals when different people are grouped together for collaborative writing. This is a disadvantage, as progress is being held up for completing the task.

2. Many faux leaders:

There would be many people who try to be the leader of the group in collaborative writing. Such kind of ill will can disturb other areas of the work environment and cause tension amongst other writers.

3. Variation in writing style:

There may be an unwanted difference in writing style in a collaborative writing project if not properly edited. The writers in the team would have a varied writing style.

Some would be pragmatists who get it done and others may be a perfectionist who procrastinates work.

4. Work delay:

When parallel collaboration is considered, anyone writer delaying the work may hold the complete project.

In the same manner, when a sequential collaboration is considered, the work is influenced by one previous writer. There will be a tough time if the writer does not get the work done on time as it makes the subsequent writer to initiate the work later.

At times when writer number 1 and 2 delay their work than the expected time, then there would be a delay in work. Since they are the initial writers their delay would provide very less time for others to complete their work.

5. More chances to get rejected:

When guidelines and styles are not followed by any one of the writers, the complete project would not be accepted for its quality and the complete project would get rejected.

6. Acknowledging writers is tough:

When a collaborative work set up is considered providing acknowledgment to the appropriate writers is mandatory.

Individuals and contributors who contributed to the project must be appreciated in a team. But in a collaborative writing team, acknowledging and identifying the contributors can be a complex process.

Hence collaborative writing is beneficial in many ways through a few disadvantages may be present. When a workplace follows collaborative efforts, then it is assured for innovative approaches for the assignment.

Collaborative writing is mandatory and needs to be followed as they develop unity, and reap great results. It is also true that collaborative writing is beneficial in creative problem solving, innovation, customer satisfaction, operational efficiency, sales and supportability, and agility.

With all these helpful aspects, collaborative writing can make your project or business successful. Hence running through the main elements for this type of writing can be profitable.

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