Collaborative Writing – Construction Theory

Javier Onrubia and Anna Engel carried out a research study with three student groups engaging in Collaborative Writing on four to eight written products. After analyzing the strategies that these teams used while preparing the written text, they identified four distinct yet interrelated processes of knowledge construction. These processes are as follows −

  • Parallel Construction
  • Sequential Summative Construction
  • Sequential Integrating Construction
  • Integrating Construction

Let us now discuss these four processes in detail.

Parallel Construction

Each group member is asked to work on a different part of the document and in the end, the final document is formed out of juxtaposing of these different parts. In another scenario, the document was divided into different portions and distributed among each teammate. After the writer had submitted his part of the document, smaller portions of text were selected from these and juxtaposed to form the final document.

Sequential Summative Construction

One team member, usually a senior presents a partially-completed document with different sections made out and partially fulfilled as per the style, technique, verbiage, and specifications required. The rest of the team is then entrusted with the responsibility to complete the writing on the different sections and submit the final complete document.

Sequential Integrating Construction

One team member presents a partially-complete or complete document to the team, upon which the rest of the team suggest changes, provide justified modifications or engage in discussions on the part they agree in the document or not. There is a successive contribution to the document.

Integrating Construction

The difference between Sequential Integrating Construction and Integrating Construction is that in the latter case, the changes and modifications are suggested during the writing of the document, as opposed to waiting for the document to be submitted for the contribution process to start.