How do we write with one voice?

Students in A Team

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It's time for our team to bring delegated work and research together. This phase can last the longest, as the team is consistently coordinating, informing and collaborating with each other. We need to be consistent with check-ins, to ensure that each role is being fulfilled and supported.    

high level of adaptability is required during the integration process. Feedback, communication, and critical thinking are keys to ensuring the "collective voice" is captured.

Click here to see the Writing Center`s tips for team writing. 

Tip: Teamwork is not about dividing the same work equally among the team.  If each person on a 5 person team writes 300 words to stitch together a 1500 word essay, the most likely outcome will be a Frankenstein paper comprised of differing voices, verb tenses, styles and ideas.  A more successful strategy is to build a detailed outline together and then get one person to draft the paper on behalf of the team.

If the team has decided to delegate work, then everybody should be given a chance to clearly sign off on each draft of the project.  This helps ensure transparency and accountability.  We suggest at least four drafts. 

  1. Detailed Outline (Everyone)- detailed project outline including clear statement of opinion/thesis/hypothesis of paper, supporting claims, examples of evidence and credible citations, and conclusion. 
  2. Rough Draft (Delegated) - rough draft of the project including detailed text or script based on the detailed project outline.  Once the draft is complete everyone has a chance to comment on how accurately it reflects the outline, including the logic, evidence, and sequence of the presentation.  The editors take the feedback from the 2nd draft and incorporate it into the third draft. Every effort will be made to incorporate all feedback.  If there is a conflict between elements of the feedback, the hole team will be asked to resolve the conflict before the third draft is finished. Once the 2nd draft is complete, the argument and evidence is fixed and should not be changed unless everyone agrees.
  3. Good Draft (Delegated) - At this point, everyone comments on the formatting, style, and grammar of the project as captured by the 2nd draft.  Once again, the editors will do their best to incorporate all feedback; on some issues such as APA citations and program submission guidelines, there are clear standards that must be met, and the editors will use those standards to resolve conflicting pieces of feedback.  If the feedback relates to style, the editors will strive to be consistent throughout the presentation.  Once these edits have been made, the project goes back to the group for final approval.
  4. Final Draft (Everyone) - For the sake of transparency and accountability, everyone on the team should approve the final draft of the project before handing it in. 

Finally, to ensure our success, we have to re-visit assignment description, instructions and rubric to check alignment with the team's work.