Dissertation/Thesis Accountability Groups and Writing Buddies

Are you struggling to make timely progress on your doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis? The Graduate School can place you with peers in a Writing Accountability Group or find you a Writing Buddy.

What is a Writing Accountability Group?

A writing accountability group is a productive tool to maintain the extended research and writing expected at the graduate level. Joining an accountability group can promote effective writing habits by providing social support and imposing structure on required tasks that can otherwise feel quite isolating. Building and sustaining a community of like-minded people encourages participants to stay focused on their specific work or project.

The process involves commitment, not just to oneself but to others in the group. Participants agree to meet at regular intervals (usually weekly or biweekly), report on their success at meeting established goals, and articulate goals to achieve by the next group meeting. Groups troubleshoot the issues members are facing in their work and help each plan for the next stages of their journey to degree completion. This sense of commitment and achievement makes the process easier and more efficient and increases motivation to stick to a writing schedule despite other time-consuming responsibilities. Accountability groups may also designate blocks of time to come together and write in each other’s company.

What is a Writing Buddy?

Not a fan of working in small groups? Try “The Buddy System.” It is good practice to have someone else, like a fellow graduate student, read your material in addition to your advisor. While a writing buddy may not be an expert in your field, they can prove very helpful in making you aware of “muddy” spots, the flow of your writing style and whether or not they are able to make sense of the information you present. Like accountability groups, writing buddies typically meet once a week or every two weeks; unlike accountability groups, writing buddies actually read and comment on each other’s work. Having someone who is available, responsible, interested and invested in your success can inspire you to make sustained headway with your writing.

Ready to start making progress on your dissertation or thesis? Click the link to request an accountability group and/or writing buddy. The Graduate School will connect you with a group or buddy fitting your schedule. Please note that the more availability you indicate, the easier it will be to place you with a group or partner.

Questions about Writing Accountability Groups and the Buddy System can be directed to Peg De Furia (mldefuri@syr.edu) in the Graduate School.