[42] Let a peer review your writing: taster session of PAWS – Peer Academic Writing Support



Let a peer review your writing: taster session of PAWS – Peer Academic Writing Support

Author (s)

Jennifer Gatzemeier PhD student
College of Human and Health Sciences
Sara Correia, Megan Crawford, Alys Einion, Irene Reppa


Peer Academic Writing Support (PAWS) is a program for all staff members and PhD students of Swansea University in which we support each other with our writing and learn from each other. Writing is an important part of academic life and career. However, many academics struggle to find the time and support for writing and give it enough priority. PAWS provides exactly that: dedicated time and peer support to increase writing output.

The interdisciplinarity of PAWS enhances the exchange of knowledge and ideas across departments and colleges. In this taster session we will show you how one pillar of the PAWS’s program – the Critics Café – works.

PAWS is a 10-week program starting with a didactic (internal or external speaker), 8 weeks of weekly writing meetings, a one-day writing retreat and two Critic Cafes. The didactic session covers topics such as how to find the motivation to write, a writing scheme, and tips to overcome writer’s block. In the writing meetings PAWS members will have a chance to write for one hour without distractions but with the support of peers. Critics Café is an opportunity to receive feedback on a piece of writing while giving feedback to peer’s writing. For the writing retreat a whole day will be dedicated to writing without the distraction of other duties like teaching, marking or research. It also gives opportunity to exchange ideas and to get to know colleagues of other disciplines who might have approaches to writing.
PAWS wants to encourage everybody to learn from each other’s experiences and skills and to share knowledge with peers.

Session Outline

This taster session is a miniature version of the critics cafe component of PAWS. The session would be comprised of two parts: 1) participants will be given an overview of the PAWS’ program and evidence of its success so far, followed by a 10-15min slot to write a short abstract about their work 2) in the next 30min participants will be given another participant’s abstract to review, and each pair will then discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the other’s writing output.

Key Words

Writing, Peer support and learning, Academic success

Key Messages

Participants of the session will be encouraged to reflect on their peer’s but also their own writing practice, and learn about PAWS and how peers enhance each other’s academic writing and development.


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