Writing Groups as Dialogic Spaces
Negotiating Multiple Normative Perspectives
Facilitating sustained dialogic engagement in writing groups to support postgraduates’ research-based writing can be challenging. So far there is little research on dialogic strategies in such groups. Studies of tutor-student talk around texts highlight that different dialogic strategies can invite or exclude contributions. This article investigates how writing group participants negotiate different perspectives on academic writing practices in a multidisciplinary writing group. The study analyses six recorded meetings of multilingual master’s students writing in English at a Swedish university. It identifies dialogue patterns with diverging or converging perspectives, where students refer to a range of universal or discipline-specific norms. Reference to a generic yet unspecific norm creates a space for sharing diverging perspectives while reflecting on ones’ own writing. Applying perceived universal norms to others’ texts can close down dialogue. Awareness of dialogue patterns can help facilitators to decide when to step back and when to step in as moderators.