Support and Coaching Structure
By what means can the group function as a support and coaching structure to get most participants (e.g., students) to finish their research and writing in the time available? That is a question worth discussing during any process of research, writing, and engagement. (See the Resources section in Part 4 for an online forum on this topic.)
Individually and in a group of peer students or researchers, you already know a lot about research and engagement. If this knowledge is elicited and affirmed, you are more able to learn from others. Activities such as Freewriting
bring to the surface insight that you were not able, at first, to acknowledge. Over the course of the research and writing process, you are encouraged to recognize that there is insight in every response and share their not-yet-stable aspects. The trust required takes time to establish.
An email group (listserv) can be used to help the community develop, but these often end up used more for logistics (e.g., noting that such and such a webpage or wiki link is broken). To generate more interaction, a survey given a few sessions in from the start can provide material for a practical vision process (along the lines of Strategic Personal Planning
, but with a small group instead of a single individual doing the brainstorming, clustering, and naming) (Taylor 1999).