Writing Relationships: Collaboration In A Faculty Writing Group

Badenhorst, Cecile and Penney, Sharon C. and Pickett, Sarah and Joy, Rhonda and Hesson, Jacqueline Barbara and Young, Gabrielle and McLeod, Heather and Vaandering, Dorothy and Li, Xuemei (2013) Writing Relationships: Collaboration In A Faculty Writing Group. AISHE-J: The All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 5 (3). pp. 1001-1026. ISSN 2009-3160

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Our faculty writing group in the Faculty of Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada began in 2009 and over the past three years it has grown into a successfully publishing community of practice. When we have presented papers on the writing group at conferences, we have found that the first question asked tends to be: How did you get the writing group to work? It is a deceptively simple question but the answer taps into many issues surrounding the difficulty of faculty writing and publishing in academic contexts. For many academics, the challenge of navigating the competitive discourse demands of conducting research and publishing journal articles, while at the same time navigating teaching and administrative loads, often leads to anxiety and stress. Situated within the literature on writing groups and research productivity, we contribute by narrating and analysing the evolving story of our group. The purpose of this paper is to explore why members continue to participate and why we have been able to successfully write and publish both individually and as a group. This study used ‘the self as data’, a qualitative methodology particularly relevant in the analysis of writing processes and groups. The data collected consisted of weekly written reflections, additional written narratives by each group member, and recordings of meeting discussions. We analysed the data qualitatively using the constant comparison method of analysis to generate themes. Results indicate that members attended the group because they were looking for a place to get support for research and writing and to cope with negotiating academic cultures. We argue that the ethos of a ‘non-competitive environment’ and ‘relationships-first’ were crucial in fostering collaboration and productivity despite diverse individual differences. We offer this analysis of our experiences, not only in terms of practicalities but also as an alternative way of working in the academy.

Item Type: Article
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/6064
Item ID: 6064
Keywords: Faculty, writing groups, academic productivity, writing, research
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 2013
Date Type: Publication
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