Writing Paperless by icf1n7h


									Writing as a Team
Effective Team Writing
To effectively write as a team, it is critical that you
communicate with one another during all phases
of the composing process: invention, information
gathering, drafting/revision, and editing/proofreading. Your team should alternate as
much as possible between performing these tasks individually and working with the
entire team or other team members.

►Invention: Review the writing task as a team to ensure everyone has a consistent
understanding—including the purpose, audience, and medium (if specified). The group
should then brainstorm those areas not specified in the assignment such as topic, sub-
topics, approach, medium, etc. During the brainstorming process, make sure you
share interests, information, and expertise team members have. Also, assign someone
to take notes during your brainstorming session so ideas and information are not lost.

►Information Gathering: Once your team has agreed on its writing task, you
should establish research objectives, and brainstorm research strategies and potential
information sources. Depending on time constraints, team members can work together
or independently research and gather information. If you divvy up responsibilities make
sure you agree on deadlines and deliverables (who will have what when). It’s
important for the group to meet after individual members have gathered information,
but before they start writing. Each member should report the information he or she
found because this may affect what another person writes. The group as a whole
should evaluate the quality of the information, its reliability, objectivity, applicability,
and so on. The group can then decide if further information is needed.

►Drafting/Revision: Out of necessity, most writing teams require that different
people write different sections. At this point, don’t assign the overview,
recommendations, or executive summary (if required). Those sections should be
written at the end of the process. To ensure consistency between sections, be sure
you agree about the formality, directness, and other style issues in advance. Again,
establish deadlines and deliverables. As each section gets drafted, it should be read
by at least one pre-assigned member other than the author. This “reviewer” should
offer the author comments primarily about the substance of the section:
     What questions remain unanswered?
     What assertions are insufficiently supported?
     What connections are unclear?
     What material seems irrelevant?

The reviewer should imagine himself/herself as the intended audience—focusing on
what the audience will be looking for in the piece. The reviewer should discuss the
piece with the author noting both strengths and weaknesses and writing down specific
suggestions for improvement. At this point, reviewers should focus on substance not
surface features such as spelling and grammar. After these initial reviews and writers
 have revised their sections at least once, everyone should distribute copies of their
 sections to all team members in advance of the next meeting--giving everyone time to
 read everything before the team meets. At this meeting, the group should discuss the
 work in progress, section-by-section, offering final suggestions to each writer about the
 second to the last revision. After this section-by-section review, the group should also
 consider what the piece as a whole looks like:
     Has the organization remained firm and logical?
     Are connections clear?
     Should any material be cut? (Remember, material is only important insofar as it
       supports the overall purpose.)

At this point, your team should be ready to discuss the overview, recommendations,
and/or executive summary. Begin by coming to a consensus about what you conclude
or recommend on the basis of your information. You need not limit yourself to one
conclusion or recommendation. Indeed, a major conclusion is usually comprised of
several minor conclusions. Since different team members are more familiar with
different sections, it’s essential for the team to derive conclusions and recommendations
as a team. With regards to a summary, team members can also come to agreement
about key points for each section. Your team will also want to discuss how you want to
introduce the paper—foregrounding your conclusions/recommendations. Once the team
has identified the content for these sections, assign the strongest writers to draft them.
The team should decide how they want to handle reviews for these sections. Once all
final revisions are made, authors should read their individual sections one last time.

 ►Editing/Proofreading: For final editing, team members should trade sections
 including the introduction and conclusion with at least one other team member, who
 should perform one reading dedicated to correcting surface details (grammar, usage,
 spelling, punctuation). During the editing stage, you will also want to cut unnecessary
 words, fill in missing words, clear up ambiguities. Reading aloud is one of the best
 techniques for proofreading. Once authors have made all edits, it’s simply a matter of
 compiling the final product and celebrating.

►Guidelines for Responding to Other Writers

    Develop a schedule based on the final deadline. Set deadlines for drafts;
     schedule team meetings.
    Develop, as a team a series of questions for each reader to ask about other
     writer’s drafts; determine what you will be looking for in each writer’s drafts.
    Before distributing drafts to other team members, each writer should discuss or
     attach a cover memo explaining what he or she tried to accomplish and directing
     reviewers to specific areas where the writer has questions or wants suggestions.
    Reviewers should respond to the writer’s questions, and pose some of their own
     questions based on their reading of the section. Comments should be descriptive,
     point to particular sections or sentences, provide specific suggestions for

To top