Online Writing for Publication Group

This writing group offers accountability and support for staff/PhD researchers from all disciplines who are writing a research-based article for academic publication in English (i.e., for an academic journal). Feedback will be guided by the facilitator and will focus on academic style, argumentation, and grammar.

Learning Outcomes

After participating in the writing group, the participants

  • are more aware of discipline-specific academic conventions, i.e. the academic conventions of their field
  • are able to read and assess the relevancy of articles in a faster and more efficient manner
  • are aware of their responsibilities and role as peer reviewers
  • are able to understand the expectations of their target audience, in order to tailor their own research articles for specific contexts
  • are aware of the different functions of language in academic writing in English (i.e., how to interpret writer’s attitude, level of commitment; the use of tense, voice, register; how to create cohesion)
  • display competence in meeting the basic professional expectations of researchers

Ways of working and activities

To support a researcher’s busy schedule, the writing group is 100% online. The writing group operates using the Moodle Workshop function organized by the facilitator. Each two-week cycle begins with researchers uploading a 1500-word section of writing, and ends with a researcher providing feedback to one colleague. Then, there is a one-week break, and the cycle begins again.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Introduce yourself (“Introduce yourself HERE”). Please provide your name, the working title of your draft, and the name of the journal you will be submitting to. This information will be to determine your eligibility for the writing group.

Step 2: Upload a 1500 word (maximum) writing project to the workshop by the deadline provided (“Upload your draft HERE”).

Step 3: The Moodle Forum will randomly and anonymously generate one file for you to review. Use the feedback form and instructions together with Microsoft track changes to provide feedback. Upload the feedback file to the Moodle forum within two weeks. The feedback must be returned by the deadline provided, at which time you will have access to the feedback others have provided for you.

NOTE: the Moodle Forum is set up to provide anonymity to the users. If you would like to remain anonymous, please strip both your original and feedback documents of personal data.

Step 4: If you wish to take part in the next cycle, you will upload both another draft and set of feedback by the deadline. However, you do not need to submit/review every two weeks; if you do not submit, you do not review. However, you are always welcome to submit your work at the start of the next writing cycle.

How are students supported?

The online delivery of this writing group offers flexibility, anonymity, and the possibility for autonomous learning for researchers from all disciplines who may be looking for ways to develop their academic writing or who wish to familiarize themselves with English language publication conventions without committing to a time or place to do so.

The Moodle site is provided for researchers, who can then enrol and then introduce themselves and their project (to ensure that only researchers are participating). Peer review guidelines addressing aspects of argumentation, style, structure, and grammar are provided, as well as corresponding internet resources for every item on the peer review checklist.

Researchers are provided with detailed instructions for both submission and peer review.

Guidelines for Submission

  • A ‘polished draft’ meets all of the requirements set out in the guidelines in terms of style, structure, and argumentation. In other words, the draft is professional, and formatted in ‘publication ready’ form. Use the “Feedback Guidelines” file (below) for reference and links in the “Resources” section for specific rules and examples
  • The file must be in a .doc or .docx, 12′ font, be double spaced, and be 1500 words (max.)
  • If it is not evident, the writer should indicate the section (e.g., methods) of the extract
  • Upload the submission to Moodle before the deadline
  • When you upload your work, you commit to providing feedback for one Submission (randomly allocated)
  • The Workshop is set up to provide anonymity to the reviewers. If you wish to ensure this, please strip the personal data from your file before uploading it to the workshop

Guidelines for Feedback

  • Feedback should be submitted via Microsoft track changes in .doc or .docx format
  • The role of the reviewer is to notice ensure that the draft meets the requirements of a ‘polished draft’ in terms of style, structure, and argumentation. Use the “Feedback and Submission Guidelines” file (below) for reference and links in the “Resources” section for specific rules and examples.
  • The reviewer should highlight and comment on the error. For example: In the sentence “the use of Instagram in this way brings up important issues…”, the reviewer would comment that “brings up” is a two-word verb (which is wordy and informal). The reviewer, however, is not responsible for correcting the error by providing a replacement word.
  • The expectation is that the reviewer spend between 45-60 minutes on each submission
  • Upload the feedback file with your track changes to Moodle before the deadline
  • The Workshop is set up to provide anonymity to the reviewers. If you wish to ensure this, please strip the personal data from your file before uploading it to the workshop

Peer-review guidelines are provided in a checklist format, and researchers are encouraged to use the guidelines for their own submission as well as peer-review.

Writing Group Feedback Guidelines

Academic Style Uses Transitional Words and Phrases for coherence
Language is formal (not conversational)
Language is sufficiently complex
Language is precise and accurate
Use of cautious language (i.e., ‘hedging’)
Subjective pronouns are limited
Signposting and transition phases make author’s argument explicit
Language is responsible (i.e., uses appropriate referencing, formatting, and citation style)
Academic Argumentation Argument is structured using the ‘moves’ of CARS model
Author uses signposting/phrases appropriate for section (Introduction/Literature Review-Background/Methods/Results/Discussion/Conclusion)
Grammar Uses Apostrophe correctly
Uses Article Correctly
Uses Comma Correctly
No Dangling Modifier Errors
No Faulty Parallelism Errors
Uses Passive and Active Voice Appropriately
Uses Prepositions Appropriately
Uses Appropriate Pronouns
Uses Reporting Verbs Accurately and Appropriately
No run-on or fused sentences
Uses variety of sentences
Subjects agree with verbs


Each element in the table corresponds with a link to a source providing further information on the topic in the resources section in the section below the guideline checklist. For example: Transitional Words and Devices

What kind of feedback do students get as their work progresses on their own skills and the development of their skills?

The feedback is peer review, and it is provided by other researchers who are asked to spend 45-60 minutes reviewing their colleague’s paper.

How does it end? What happens next? How is the learning process and experience discussed and reflected upon?

The writing cycle ends after two weeks, then there is a week break, then it begins again. There is a feedback form on the Moodle site for researchers to leave their candid and anonymous feedback for the facilitator.