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Strategies and techniques when working in a group for a range of assignments

Groupwork: Things to Think About

Groupwork can help you learn from other peoples’ experiences and points of view, gain a greater understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses and develop your collaborative abilities - qualities which are crucial for many professions. But it can also be challenging to manage different ideas, schedules and ways of working – especially when you need to produce a single coherent piece of work (as is common in university assessment). 

Check out the videos below to hear about key issues to consider when choosing an approach to groupwork and some strategies that can make the process easier. The challenges associated with groupwork will differ depending on the task, timeline and members of the group so it’s worth keeping your particular situation in mind when thinking about which issues to prioritise and which strategies to use/adapt.  

How to prepare for group writing

Depending on the group, you might find that one of the above areas causes more difficulties than the others. If you already know the other members and you all feel comfortable doing so, you might find it useful to get together before you start working and discuss which issues you’re particularly concerned about. The above videos provide some steps you might take if you encounter these issues, but remember you’re not expected to be able to anticipate and mitigate every obstacle in advance, so you don’t have to (and can’t) plan for every eventuality. 

If you don’t yet know the other members of your group, discussing these concerns right away might feel exposing, so you may feel more comfortable prompting the group to reflect on them after you’ve spent a bit of time working together. You can still prepare for group writing, though, by reflecting on your own habits and assumptions around academic study. There’s more than one way to research, write and think about a particular topic so having a good understanding of your own preferences and being open to others can make the process feel a lot easier. 

The resource below offers some prompts that can help you reflect on your learning habits.