Research writing groups

Contact person info
Name of contact person: 
Judy Maxwell
Email of contact person: 
judy.maxwell@rmit.edu.au
What is the rationale for this practice?: 
Perceived need by ALL staff
Perceived need by faculty staff
High demand from students
What support exists for this practice? (Institutional or other): 
Departmental strategic/operational plan
Promotional support
What restrictions are there on this practice? (Institutional or other): 
Staffing
Room availability and suitability
If you have evaluated this practice, please select evaluation type(s): 
ALL unit administered student surveys
Focus groups with students
What are the strengths of this practice?: 

Research candidates develop a community of engagement around research writing. The groups are currently broadly discipline based (eg engineering and applied sciences; social science, business and education; health sciences and medical sciences), which allows candidates from the same schools to compare and discuss, but they're also exposed to the research writing conventions of those from other schools. This seems to help them focus explicitly on their own writing.

What are the weaknesses?: 

It takes time. We need to read and comment on texts before each session (as do all group members), but we also write up summaries of each session, dig up resources on areas we discussed, and address all admin. issues (eg ensuring texts are volunteered and emailed to group members before each session.

What improvements (if any) would you like to make?: 

More discipline-specific groups in areas such as art and architecture; these represent a point of departure from most other broad disciplinary groups in that many research degrees are by project and the exegeses have a different flavour to those from other disciplines.

What approaches/theories of language and/or learning underpin this practice?: 

Reciprocal mentoring; Genre theory

ALL Publication