Developing research-writer identity and wellbeing in a doctoral writing group

Chloe Cannell, Arnis Silvia, Katherine McLachlan, Shwikar Othman, Annette Morphett, Vihara Maheepala, Carolyn McCosh, Nevena Simic, Monica B. Behrend

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Various models of writing groups for doctoral candidates are effective in developing research writing skills. While most groups focus on writing and providing feedback, less is written about groups that focus on empowering the research-writer through social interaction. This paper explores the impact of an ongoing fortnightly writing group as a regulated writing space for promoting wellbeing and fostering research-writer identity among doctoral candidates, whilst developing cognitive and social skills. Eight participants and the facilitator reflect on the effectiveness of this group using collaborative autoethnography. What began as a group of higher degree research students who wanted to develop their research writing skills, became a supportive community of practice which enhanced individuals’ confidence to write, their research writing identities and wellbeing. Of significance was the writing expert as a facilitator. The study recommends that institutions value and create regular writing spaces for doctoral candidates to write, discuss their experiences as research-writers and in so doing, address their research writing identity and wellbeing, particularly given current concerns about mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1106-1123
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2023


  • collaborative autoethnography
  • community of practice
  • Doctoral writing group
  • identity
  • research writing
  • wellbeing


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