Collaborative Writing – Lowry’s Theory

Collaborative writing and its effects have been studied by researchers and business experts for years now. Depending on the observation of these researchers, numerous theories and working models have come up. According to Paul Benjamin Lowry, a common vocabulary must be conceptualized that different people working in a team or teams, can use to communicate in Collaborative Writing.

He says that in the absence of this common vocabulary, teams put into collaborative processes and left to themselves to get the work done will make a heavy waste of resources like time, efforts and money. Keeping these factors in mind, he propounded five collaborative writing strategies, which are −

  • Single Author Writing
  • Sequential Single Writing
  • Parallel Writing
  • Reactive Writing
  • Mixed Mode Writing

Let us now discuss each of these collaborative writing strategies in detail.

Single Author Writing

Single-author writing occurs when one person represents an entire team writing collaboratively. This type of writing is usually practiced in law firms, when the lawyer employs a team to do all this research and paperwork, while he himself bears responsibility for the accuracy or fallibility of the mentioned facts.

Sequential Single Writing

In Sequential single writing, a group of writer’s work on individual areas of a writing project, but in a sequence. It means that the responsibility of writing is shared by the members of a team in a numerical sequence. The writer who is supposed to start with the writing, will complete his part and then pass the document to the second in sequence.

Parallel Writing

Closely resembling shared writing in method and implementation, parallel writing involves employing a group of people who are handed different portions of the document and are asked to work on their areas at the same time. There are two kinds of parallel writing, one where the document is divided into smaller sections and different members handed writing responsibilities of these sections.

The other one is where the team-members involved in the writing process are handed different roles. For example, proofreading, fact-checking, typo-correction, etc.

Reactive Writing

Reactive writing involves different team-members or various teams going through one another’s output and “reacting” to the content by suggesting changes, proof-reading, fact-checking, editing, etc. This is considered a healthy practice and ensures a credible written document.

Mixed Mode Writing

In the mixed mode of writing, some or all the above modes are incorporated into the writing process. For example, a team may have its team-members arranged in a sequence of writing, so while the first writer will be writing his part of the document, the rest might engage in reactive writing on it. When the first few writers are done with their tasks, they can become reactive writers in turn.