CollaborativeWriting is a term used to describe work done by multiple contributors collaboratively (together) that all want to achieve the same goal or outcome. Using collective intelligence to create or author a text.


Collaborative writing gained a large amount of attention in the 1970s when English and composition professor Kenneth Bruffee argued that students produced better essays and fiction when writing in groups than they did alone. He said that students learned more from each other than they did from only their teacher.

Bruffee's ideas stood on a strong foundation of theoretical research into group work and collaboration done by Barry E. Collins and Harold Guetzkow. In their book, they introduced what they called the "assemblage" effect, which describes the way that a group's final product is usually superior to that of even the best member's individual efforts. Karen Burke LeFevre, writing in 1987, argued convincingly that each aspect of the writing process—including invention, writing, and editing—are inherently social acts that benefit from and thrive in a collaborative environment. Collins, Guetzkow, LeFevre and other social psychologists use scientific research to give credibility to the power of collaborative writing that continues to be downplayed in the dominant literary environment. These researchers have demonstrated that collaborative writing could, at least in ways that can be tested empirically, produce better work and teach people quantitatively more than in situations where the same individuals write alone.

As a result, collaborative writing remains prevalent in the world today. It is persistent and effective. History has shown that the importance and power of collaborative creation is one of the most powerful mechanisms for the creation, organization and dissemination of knowledge.

Practical Use

Many teaching techniques use collaborative writing as an approach for teaching beginning authors/writers of all ages and educational levels to write. Using this technique, each contributor has equal ability to edit the text. The word recursive is used to describe the collaborative writing approach, as each individual is able to make changes that will prompt others to make changes. With similar objectives in mind, the collaborative team is able to achieve their goal much more easily than if objectives aren't clearly outlined by the group.

Collaborative writing is now a major component of the business world. Many forms of technical and business writing depend on the efforts of collaborative writing teams to reach success. Professional interest in such writing is now a major part of compositional studies.

Benefits of Collaboration

  1. Helps with problem finding and problem solving
  2. Helps with learning abstractions
  3. Aids in transfer and assimilation of information, fosters interdisciplinary thinking
  4. Leads to more critical thinking and a deeper understanding of others
  5. Leads to higher achievement
  6. Promotes excellence
  7. Encourages active learning; combines reading, writing, talking, and thinking; provides practice in both synthetic and analytical skills

5 Collaborative Writing Strategies

  1. Single-author writing: One individual writes as the representative for the whole group
  2. Sequential single writing: One group member writes at a time, with each member being assigned certain portion of the assignment
  3. Parallel writing: The group divides the assignment amongst the group members, but all work on the assignment at the same time.
  4. Reactive writing: Team members collaborate over time, allowing them to react to and adjust others contributions as they are made
  5. Mixed mode: Mixes two or more of the strategies described above

7 Organizational Patterns

  1. Team plans the task, each contributor prepares their part, and then the group compiles the individual parts
  2. Team plans the task, one member prepares the draft, and then the team edits and revises the draft
  3. One member plans and writes a draft, and then the team edits and revises the draft
  4. One member plans and writes draft, then one or more members revise the draft without consulting the original author
  5. Team plans and writes the draft, one or more members revise the draft without consulting the original author
  6. One member assigns the tasks, each does an individual task, and one person compiles and revises the document
  7. One dictates, another transcribes and edits

10 Guidelines to Successful Collaborative Writing

  1. Know the members of your group. You'll be able to better coordinate your writing efforts if you know one another and get along.
  2. Do not regard one team member as more important than another. A team needs everyone involved in order to be successful.
  3. Set up a preliminary meeting to establish guidelines and rules. The agreement on this should be unanimous for avoid conflict during the writing process.
  4. Agree on the group's organization. It'll be easier to do your assigned job if everyone knows what they're supposed to do.
  5. Establish everyone's individual responsibilities, but allow wiggle room for individual talents and skills.
  6. Establish the time, places, and length of group meeting ahead of time.
  7. Follow an agreed-upon timetable but leave room for flexibility. You can't predict the future and nothing ever goes smoothly for too long with a bump turning up in the road.
  8. Provide clear and precise feedback to teammates. This will help you see errors or different point of view, enriching the experience and helping you move your project forward.
  9. Be an active listener. Participate in discussions.
  10. Use a standard reference guide for matters of style, documentation, and format. Make sure everyone is on the same page with these things to avoid mistakes or miscommunication.

Collabrative Writing Games

  1. Cadavre Exquis (Exquisite Corpse)

A game invented by surrealists Yves Tanguy, Jacques Prevert, Andre Brenton and Marcel Duchamp in Paris, 1925. Participants pass envelopes containing their contribution around in a circle. There are some rules, but the resulting game is a bit like Mad Libs. The name is drawn the phrase that resulted after the first game. "The exquisite corpse will drink the new wine".

I, haileyhorob, have come through to create this page and lay down the basics on a very formal level. Come in and add your own voice and side to further develop this page.

CollaborativeStrategies is a very great link that could be worked into this page as its developed further! Great starting point for another contributor!

I, DestinySherman, have added to this page regarding business use and the benefits of collaborative writing and useful guidelines for success in collaborative writing using this, as well as the history of collaborative writing using this. Feel free to add more to help further develop this page.

I, Eric Kvale started the section on Collabrative Writing Games and added Exquisite Corpse.
There are no comments on this page.
Valid XHTML :: Valid CSS: :: Powered by WikkaWiki