Document Type : Research Paper


1 Professor of TEFL, Tabriz University

2 Professor, Free University, Berlin, Germany

3 Research Fellow, University of Malaya (UM), Malaysia


This study purported to comparatively investigate the influence of collaborative writing on the quality of individual writing of four female Iranian and four female Malaysian students. The first semester students at a private university in Malaysia, who were comparable in terms of age, gender, study discipline, and language proficiency, were divided into two Iranian and two Malaysian dyads. The dyads performed collaborative writing tasks for 15 sessions; after three consecutive collaborative writing sessions, each participant was asked to individually attempt a writing task. Both collaborative and individual writing tasks comprised isomorphic graphic prompts (IELTS Academic Module task 1). Writing quality of the five individually-produced texts during the study was rated in terms of task achievement (TA), cohesion/coherence (C/C), grammatical range/accuracy (GR/A), and lexical resources (LR). The findings indicated a hierarchy of development in TA and C/C among all the students, while LR showed minor improvement only among three of Malaysian students, and GR/A barely exhibited any progress among everyone. Intermittent progressions and regressions were also discerned in the trajectory of their writing development. The findings are discussed in the light of the socio-cultural and emergentist perspectives, the typology of tasks used as well as the role of the participants’ level of language proficiency.


Anton, M. & DiCamilla, F. J. (1998). Socio-cognitive functions of L1 collaborative interaction in the L2 classroom. Canadian Modern Language Review/La Revue canadienne des langues vivantes, 54(3), 314-342.
Baker, W. (2008). A critical examination of ELT in Thailand. RELC Journal, 39(1), 131-146.
Bakhtin, M. (1981). The dialogic imagination: Four essays. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Berg, E. C. (1999). The effects of trained peer response on ESL students' revision types and writing quality. Journal of Second Language Writing, 8(3), 215-241.
Blanton, L. L. (1992). Talking students into writing: Using oral fluency to develop literacy. TESOL Journal, 1(4), 23-26.
Bruffee, K. A. (1995). Peer tutoring and the "conversation of mankind." Landmark Essays: Writing Centers, 87-98.
Cameron, L. & Larsen-Freeman, D. (2007). Complex systems and applied linguistics. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 17(2), 226-240.
Carroll, S. E. (1995). The irrelevance of verbal feedback to language learning. In L. Eubank, L. Selinker & M. Sharwood Smith (Eds.), The current state of interlanguage: Studies in honor of William E. Rutherford (pp. 73-88). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Carroll, S. E. (2001). Input and evidence: The raw material of second language acquisition (Vol. 25). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Chavez, M. (2000). Teacher and student gender and peer group gender composition in German foreign language classroom discourse: An exploratory study. Journal of Pragmatics, 32(7), 1019-1058.
Crosthwaite, P. (2011). The Effect of Collaboration on the Cohesion and Coherence of L2 Narrative Discourse between English NS and Korean L2 English Users. Asian EFL Journal, 13(4), 135-166.
Daiute, C. (1986). Do 1 and 1 Make 2? Patterns of influence by collaborative authors.Written Communication, 3(3), 382-408.
Dobao, A. F. (2012). Collaborative writing tasks in the L2 classroom: Comparing group, pair, and individual work. Journal of Second Language Writing, 21, 40-58.
Donato, R. (1988). Beyond group: A psycholinguistic rationale for collective activity in second-language learning. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Delaware.
Doughty, C. & Pica, T. (1986). “Information Gap" tasks: Do they facilitate second language acquisition? TESOL Quarterly, 20(2), 305-325.
Ede, L. & Lunsford, A. (1990). Singular texts/plural authors. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
Freedman, S. (1987). Response to student writing: Teaching and learning. NCTE Research Monograph Series. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.
Gass, S. M. & Varonis, E. (1986). Sex differences in NNS/NNS interactions. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Gibbons, P. (2006). Bridging discourses in the ESL classroom: Students, teachers and researchers. Continuum Intl Pub Group.
Goldstein, L. M. & Conrad, S. M. (1990). Student input and negotiation of meaning in ESL writing conferences. TESOL Quarterly, 24(3), 443-460.
Grabe, W. & Kaplan, R. B. (1996). Theory and practice of writing: An applied linguistic perspective. New York: Longman.
Halliday, M. A. K. (1978). Language as social semiotic: The social interpretation of language and meaning. London: Arnold.
Hedgcock, J. & Lefkowitz, N. (1992). "Collaborative oral/aural revision in foreign language writing instruction." Journal of Second Language Writing, 1(3), 255-276.
Hirvela, A. (1999). Collaborative writing instruction and communities of readers and writers. TESOL Journal, 8(2), 7-12.
Hirvela, A. (2004). Connecting reading and writing in second language writing instruction. University of Michigan Press.
International English Language Testing System (2002). The IELTS Handbook, University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate. The British Council, IELTS Australia.
 International English Language Testing System (2007). The IELTS Handbook, University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, The British Council, IELTS Australia.
Kagan, S. (1994 ). Cooperative learning. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publications.
Kim, Y. J. (2008). The contribution of collaborative and individual tasks to the acquisition of L2 vocabulary. The Modern Language Journal, 92(1), 114-130.
Kowal, M. & Swain, M. (1994). Using collaborative language production tasks to promote students' language awareness 1. Language Awareness, 3(2), 73-93.
Kuiken, F. & Vedder, I. (2002). Collaborative writing in L2: The effect of group interaction on text quality. In Rijlaarsdam, Gert (Series Ed.), Ransdell, Sarah & Marie-Laure Barbier (Vol. Eds.), Studies in writing, 169-188. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Lantolf, J. P. (2006). Language emergence: Implications for applied linguistics-A sociocultural perspective. Applied Linguistics, 27(4), 717-728.
Larsen-Freeman, D. (1997). Chaos/complexity science and second language acquisition. Applied Linguistics, 18(2), 141-165.
Larsen-Freeman, D. (2006). The emergence of complexity, fluency, and accuracy in the oral and written production of five Chinese learners of English. Applied Linguistics, 27(4), 590-619.
Larsen-Freeman, D. (2009). Adjusting expectations: The study of complexity, accuracy, and fluency in second language acquisition. Applied Linguistics, 30(4), 579-589.
Lockhart, C. & Ng, P. (1995). Analyzing talk in ESL peer response groups: Stances, functions, and content. Language Learning, 45(4), 605-651.
Long, M. H. (1996). The role of the linguistic environment in second language acquisition. In W. Ritchie & T. J. Bhatia (Eds.), Handbook of second language acquisition (Vol. 26, pp. 413-468). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.
Lyster, R. & Ranta, L. (1997). Corrective feedback and learner uptake: Negotiation of form in communicative classrooms. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 19(1), 37-66.
Mangelsdorf, K. (1992). Peer reviews in the ESL composition classroom. ELT Journal, 46(3), 274-284.
Maarof, N., Yamat, H., & Lili, K. (2011). Role of teacher, peer and teacher-peer feedback in enhancing ESL students’ writing. World Applied Sciences Journal, 15 (Innovation and Pedagogy for Life Long Learning), 29-35.
Nelson, G. L. & Carson, J. G. (1998). ESL students' perceptions of effectiveness in peer response groups. Journal of Second Language Writing, 7(2), 113-131.
Norton, B. & Toohey, K. (2001). Changing perspectives on good language learners. TESOL Quarterly, 35(2), 307-322.
O'Brien, T. (2004). Writing in a foreign language: Teaching and learning. Language Teaching, 37(01), 1-28.
Ohta, A. S. (2000). Rethinking interaction in SLA: Developmentally appropriate assistance in the zone of proximal development and the acquisition of L2 grammar. In J. P. Lantolf (Ed.), sociocultural theory and second language learning (pp. 51-78). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Peacock, M. (1998). A useful and popular lesson? Comparing students working in pairs and threes in the ESL Classroom. RELC Journal, 29(2), 27-49.
Rabiee, M. (2008, July). Grouping students in peer response: The Iranian EFL students’ attitudes toward dyadic grouping in writing classes. Paper presented at the Asia TEFL International Conference, Bali, Indonesia.
Shehadeh, A. (2004). Modified output during task-based pair interaction and group interaction. Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(3), 351-382.
Shehadeh, A. (2011). Effects and student perceptions of collaborative writing in L2. Journal of Second Language Writing, 20(4), 286-305.
 Storch, N. (1999). Are two heads better than one? Pair work and grammatical accuracy. System, 27(3), 363-374.
Storch, N. (2002). Patterns of interaction in ESL pair work. Language Learning, 52(1), 119-158.
Storch, N. (2005). Collaborative writing: Product, process, and students' reflections. Journal of Second Language Writing, 14(3), 153-173.
Storch, N. (2011). Collaborative Writing in L2 Contexts: Processes, Outcomes, and Future Directions. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 31(1), 275-288.
Storch, N. (2013). Collaborative writing in L2 classrooms. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Storch, N. & Wigglesworth, G. (2007). Writing tasks: Comparing individual and collaborative writing. In M. P. G. Mayo (Ed.), Investigating tasks in formal language learning (pp. 157-177). London, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Swain, M. (2000). The output hypothesis and beyond: Mediating acquisition through collaborative dialogue. Sociocultural theory and second language learning, 97-114.
Swain, M. (2010). Talking-it through: Languaging as a source of learning. In R. Batstone (Ed.), Sociocognitive perspectives on language use/ learning (pp. 112–130). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Swain, M. & Lapkin, S. (1998). Interaction and second language learning: Two adolescent French immersion students working together. The Modern Language Journal, 82(3), 320-337.
Tedick, D. J. (1990). ESL writing assessment: Subject-matter knowledge and its impact on performance. English for Specific Purposes, 9(2), 123-143.
Ulichny, P. & Watson-Gegeo, K. A. (1989). Interactions and authority: The dominant interpretive framework in writing conferences. Discourse Processes, 12(3), 309-328.
Uysal, H. H. (2010). A critical review of the IELTS writing test. ELT Journal, 64(3), 314-320.
Van Lier, L. (2000). From input to affordance: Social-interactive learning from an ecological perspective. In J. P. Lantolf (Ed.), sociocultural theory and second language learning (pp. 245–259). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Van Lier, L. (2004). The ecology and semiotics of language learning: A sociocultural perspective (Vol. 3): Kluwer Academic Pub.
Villamil, O. S. & Guerrero, M. C. M. D. (1996). Peer revision in the L2 classroom: Social-cognitive activities, mediating strategies, and aspects of social behavior. Journal of Second Language Writing, 5(1), 51-75.
Villamil, O. S. & Guerrero, M. C. M. D. (1998). Assessing the impact of peer revision on L2 writing. Applied Linguistics, 19(4), 491-514.
Villamil, O. S. & Guerrero, M. C. M. D. (2006). Sociocultural theory: A framework for understanding the social-cognitive dimensions of peer feedback. Feedback in second language writing: Contexts and issues, 23-42.
Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Wang, Q. (2009). Design and evaluation of a collaborative learning environment. Computers & Education, 53(4), 1138-1146.
Watanabe, Y. (2014). Collaborative and independent writing: Japanese university English learners’ processes, texts and opinions. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Toronto, Canada.
Weigle, S. C. (2002). Assessing Writing: Ernst Klett Sprachen.
Weissberg, R. (2006). Scaffolded feedback: Tutorial conversations with advanced L2 writers. Feedback in second language writing: Contexts and issues, 246-265.
Wells, G., Chang, G. L. M., & Maher, A. (1990). Creating classroom communities of literate thinkers. In S. Sharan (Ed.), Cooperative learning: Theory and research. New York: Praeger.
Wigglesworth, G. & Storch, N. (2009). Pair versus individual writing: Effects on fluency, complexity and accuracy. Language Testing, 26(3), 445-466.
Williams, J. (2002). Undergraduate second language writers in the writing center. Journal of Basic Writing, 21(2), 73-91.
Wong, I. (1988). Teacher-student talk in technical writing conference. Written Communication, 5, 444-460.
Yarmohammadi, L. (2005). ESP in iran from language planning perspective. Proceedings of the first national ESP/EAP conference (Vol. II, pp. 2-20). Tehran: The center for research and development in humanities of SAMT.