Running an Effective Writing Group

Graduate Student Resource Center

Dissertation and Thesis Support: Writing Groups and Resources
This workshop video covers strategies and best practices for organizing writing groups for thesis and dissertation writing. The presentation focuses on independent writing groups organized by graduate students and offers tips on establishing meeting rules and structures for running meetings effectively. The workshop also addresses other campus resources available to support dissertation and thesis writers. This workshop was recorded in 2020. (Approx. 20 mins.)

Tips for Successful Writing Groups —A blog post written by Chris Golde who works in the Graduate Education office at Stanford University. The post offers concise guidelines for setting expectations, developing ground rules, using time effectively, building trust, giving feedback, and dealing with other common challenges.

Making a Thesis or Dissertation Support Group Work for You [pdf]—From the Horace H. Rockham School for Graduate Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Advice drawn from dissertation-writing advice books and from a focus group of doctoral students with experience in writing groups. The article suggests answers to common questions about forming and running a writing group. It includes advice for groups focused on the writing process and for those focused on the content of the thesis or dissertation.

Resources for Writing Groups —From UNC Chapel Hill. Includes guidelines for giving and receiving feedback, creative activities for writing groups to do, and a collection of worksheets to help groups get started (see “ Writing Groups Starter Kit ”).

Belcher, W. L. (2019). Writing your journal article in twelve weeks: A guide to academic publishing success . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. (2nd edition)
Belcher advises students to form writing partnerships or groups in order to increase their motivation and productivity. She recommends making a written commitment to a writing partner or group and provides sample forms and provides sample commitment forms (see forms associated with the book introduction). Belcher's book contains numerous exercises, many of which can be used to elicit specific feedback from writing partners. In the first edition (2009), the “Week 9” chapter contains a form for sharing feedback.

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