Any tips for working in a group/ co-authoring? ✍️ — R Voice

Any tips for working in a group/ co-authoring? ✍️

Vivien Kretz
Vivien Kretz Member Posts: 276 ✭✭✭

I am currently working on a large research project for University with four other people. Even though all of them are lovely (which never was the case before with any of my other groups), the entire process of writing a large paper with multiple people really has me pulling my hair.

A little bit like this:

Everyone has a different method and writing style and qualitative research also adds many different responses into the soup on top of that.

The people I work with are all truly bright and lovely and I find it a shame that I still detest working in groups. Plus, if I ask any of my friends, really any, group work is a concept that unites them all in rolling their eyes. So I guess it really is just a very difficult setup. 😂

Therefore, I wanted to ask what your tips are for making co-authoring a bit more enjoyable and less stressful.

How do you go about it when you work with multiple people? 😊

Comments

  • Kakoli Majumder
    Kakoli Majumder Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 328 admin

    Here are my two cents:

    • First of all, it's crucial to lay down some ground rules when working in a large group.
    • If your group agrees, it may be a good idea to have one person as the group leader.
    • Expectations should be set right from the beginning and responsibilities assigned to individual members. In my experience, getting members to volunteer to work on what interests them is a great way to assign responsibilities.
    • Similarly, members themselves should come up with deadlines for completing the tasks they are working on. It's important to be realistic when deciding on deadlines.
    • Scheduling regular meeting of the group is also important to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Also, meetings are the essence of group work - that's when all the brainstorming and collaboration happens and great ideas are born. Also, meetings are a great way to revisit the entire project rather than working in silos. This can help the group come up with innovations and improvements that make the project successful.
    • Having a project management tool like Trello or Asana is a great way to work on group projects. You can assign tasks and deadlines on these tools and these can be ticked off as and when they're completed. These tools make coordination easier and also increase accountability.
    • Last but not the least, make sure everyone is involved and you are enjoying working together - this will ensure that group members continue to stay motivated and put in their best effort.


  • Soumi Paul
    Soumi Paul Member Posts: 202 ✭✭✭✭

    Why not list out all co-authors' points of view on every section of the manuscript and present it in front of the manuscript supervisor. And, let the guide finalize and fix differences by discussion and mutual agreement.

    Communication is the key to thriving! 😊

  • Vivien Kretz
    Vivien Kretz Member Posts: 276 ✭✭✭

    Thank you so so much for these interesting tips and helpful tools @Kakoli Majumder ! The last group project really cost me all my nerves and forced me to recover. I am starting to delve into the possibilities of what you have listed now and cannot wait to apply them in my next group project. I have never heard of Trello or Asana before so thank you very much for listing them. I somehow always end up as the group leader, I often want to give the others in my group to grab this position but then end up having to grab it when the schedule becomes tight. I think we should discuss it ahead of time, just like you said.

  • Vivien Kretz
    Vivien Kretz Member Posts: 276 ✭✭✭

    Thank you so much @Soumi Paul. Sometimes, it really is the reviewing and coming back to each other that makes it more difficult to find out the other group members' viewpoint.

  • Kakoli Majumder
    Kakoli Majumder Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 328 admin

    It's great that you end up leading your group projects - this way, you'll actually start developing project management skills early on. You should definitely explore project management tools - I'm sure you'll find them useful. 😊

  • leonard waks
    leonard waks Member Posts: 5

    I have had several co-authoring projects. On the whole, they were stressful. Individual people see things differently. I have also co-edited special journal issues and books with other scholars and these projects have gone smoothly. We share a common vision of the project and product, even though we have differences in what each of us individually wishes to say. So each of us contributes a chapter and perhaps a section introduction. The key difference is that we are not in each others' way. I also recently had an experience where a group of us who had put together a nice edited book started to work on the next obvious book as a follow-up, but could not agree on a vision for the book. and the project was dropped and the group disbanded.

    I have participated for more than a decade in a study group. We do not try to write co-authored papers, though there have been a few of these ( I have not co-authored any papers in this group). But we have settled on a topic to learn and write about. Each year we pull together panel proposals at conferences, and as our papers accumulate we pull together special journal issues - there have been three of these so far (of which I have edited one and co-edited another) and one book of our collected papers on a narrow topic (which I edited). The key to this group is that we share a common topic but have many disagreements about it which come out in our papers. No one is trying to force any viewpoint on anyone else; everyone is free to develop their work on this topic as they wish.

    Although the work of this group has not been my main line of work (call it a side-trip) it has received a lot of positive attention and a prominent scholar has written a book explicitly based on my papers contributed to that group's work.

    Bottom line: everyone wants to say what THEY want to say. Set up group work so that instead of many people speaking with one voice, each contributor speaks with his or her own voice.

  • Vivien Kretz
    Vivien Kretz Member Posts: 276 ✭✭✭

    Thank you so much for your message @leonard waks . "On the whole, they were stressful" really summed up my experience. It really did. 😅

    How did you find co-authors who felt like you about the project which made the corporation more smooth?

    I find it super helpful to divide up chapters or sections, too. However, at the end of the day, I oftentimes ended up spending hours going over the other group member's sections as none of them valued the citation style enough or repeated themselves. Furthermore, the attitude really persisted that they were done once they submitted their poorly edited draft of the section.

    That study group and its ideas and freedom towards each other as authors sounds so fruitful and inspiring! Thank you for sharing your experience with this! 🪴

    Wow, your bottom line really made me reflect. At the end of the day, I found the same even though I just realised it through YOU now. Everyone wants to say what they want to say.

    I am definitely gonna think about this more. Thank you for giving me so much food for thought!

  • leonard waks
    leonard waks Member Posts: 5

    There is no getting around the fact that some of our colleagues are lazy or thougtless. When Andrea English and I edited the Cambridge UP Handbook on Dewey we sent back poor chapters to aut hors saying "Thanks for the submission. At this point it does not meet our quality standards. In particular X, Y and Z. If you can ot get this back to us with all of our concerns met in two weeks we will ot be able to accept your chapter. Thanks in any event for your contribution."

    You would be amazed at the quality turn around!

  • Vivien Kretz
    Vivien Kretz Member Posts: 276 ✭✭✭

    Wow, I gotta do that next time! I am going to let my peers know politely about a deadline and how to change it, otherwise, I might be forced to move to other actions. Thank you!