Reflection, Speed Dating, and Word Clouds Evaluating a writing group for early-career researchers

Agnes Bosanquet, Margot McNeill, Elaine Huber, Jayde Cahir, Christa Jacenyik-Trawoger


Writing groups have been espoused as a means of supporting early career researchers in academia as they face the challenges of establishing research profiles, attaining job security, gaining funding and collaborating with other researchers. This paper presents an evaluative study of a writing group in a central learning and teaching development unit at a metropolitan Australian university. The writing group is unusual in that membership includes non-academic and academic staff from multiple disciplinary backgrounds. A participatory action research strategy was adopted in developing and evaluating the writing group, incorporating critical reflection, collaboration via a wiki, group analysis of qualitative data (‘speed dating’) and the production of word clouds to triangulate results. The discussion of the processes of establishing the writing group and the evaluation strategy have value for departments, centres and faculty-based groups wanting to develop the scholarship of teaching, support academic and non-academic staff to be active researchers, build cohesion, foster interdisciplinary dialogue and create communities of practice around writing for early career researchers.

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