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The Mayfield Handbook of Technical & Scientific Writing
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Section 1.12

Collaborative Writing

A significant portion of technical writing is done not by individuals but by various types of groups. Collaborative writing, like most group activities, has both benefits and pitfalls. A group can possess a wide range of skills impossible to find in a single individual. In addition, a group can become greater than the sum of its parts; interaction among members of a writing group often stimulates creativity and scientific insight.

Collaborative writing, however, also has its dangers. In any group activity, there are problems of scheduling, communication, and conflicts. To write effectively, collaborative writers may need to incorporate the following steps into the process of writing their document.

  1. List all research and writing tasks necessary for completing the project.
  2. Determine which tasks depend on the completion of other tasks.
  3. Establish a realistic schedule for completing the document.
  4. Assign tasks to individual members of the group.
  5. Develop a style guide for distribution to ensure a consistent format and style.
  6. Determine procedures and responsibilities for the document's production and final electronic form.
  7. Assign someone to manage the document's production.
  8. Establish procedures for reviewing each other's sections as they are written.
  9. Assign someone to be responsible for consistency and accuracy in style.
  10. Assign someone to be responsible for technical accuracy.
  11. Develop procedures for resolving possible conflicts.

These procedures are often incorporated in a document plan.

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## Collaborative Writing ##
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