'Becoming and being writers': The experiences of doctoral students in writing groups

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Journal Article
Studies in Continuing Education, 2008, 30 (3), pp. 263 - 275
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The use of writing groups to support students undertaking post-graduate research within universities has begun to receive attention from academic supervisors and doctoral researchers. Very little has been written by doctoral students themselves on the benefits of working within such writing groups. In this article, the experiences of working within a doctoral writing group at an Australian University are presented, primarily from the perspective of students. The authors identify two main benefits they have experienced through participating in a writing group using a 'multi-voiced' approach. First, they discuss the kind of learning that they achieved through working in a writing group. They do this with reference to key principles of peer learning and of peer review. Second, they focus on the ways the group worked as a community of discursive social practice. An overarching message for them in participating in the group and now writing this article is the shift in their thinking and experience of writing from seeing writing as an essentially private and implicit process to writing becoming a matter of public and shared work. These two notions are bound by the concept of identity building, drawing from the literature on communities of practice.
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