Factors likely to impact the effectiveness of research writing groups for off-campus doctoral students

  • Olga Kozar Macquarie University
  • Juliet Lum Macquarie University
Keywords: research writing groups, doctoral students, off-campus, computer-mediated communication, distance education


Research writing groups (RWGs) have been heralded as an ideal environment for developing research students’ writing and critiquing skills and rhetorical awareness, and for counteracting the sense of isolation and self-doubt that many PhD candidates experience. While the literature to date has promoted RWGs as an attractive alternative or addition to more traditional forms of doctoral writing support, little has been published on how they are best implemented, or how such groups could be designed to cater for geographically dispersed participants such as off-campus doctoral students. In this paper, we focus on the latter, outlining the challenges faced specifically by doctoral students studying at a distance from their host institutions and suggesting ways in which RWGs could be run using various forms of computer-mediated communication (CMC). After outlining mode of delivery and facilitation options, we identify factors of CMC-enabled RWGs which may affect students’ perceptions and levels of satisfaction with the RWG experience. We argue that factors related to group implementation and members’ perceptions of the interpersonal and cognitive gains and group logistics are likely to impact the effectiveness of CMC-enabled RWGs and should be taken into account by those designing learning resources for off-campus doctoral students.

Author Biographies

Olga Kozar, Macquarie University
Department of Linguistics
Juliet Lum, Macquarie University
Lecturer, HDR Learning Skills Office of the Dean, Higher Degree Research
How to Cite
Kozar, O., & Lum, J. (2013). Factors likely to impact the effectiveness of research writing groups for off-campus doctoral students. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 7(2), A132-A149. Retrieved from https://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/267