Collaborative writing in face-to-face settings: A substantive and methodological review

Meixiu Zhang, Luke Plonsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Collaborative writing (CW) has received much attention in recent decades. To help elucidate the existing scope of inquiry and guide future research efforts, this study presents a methodological and substantive review of 94 quantitative primary studies on collaborative second language (L2) writing implemented in face-to-face settings. Each study was coded for study context, demographic features, research focus, and measurements of the target features. In addition, each study was coded for methodological features including research design, analyses, and a number of reporting practices associated with transparency. The results indicated (a) a heavy focus on adult learners, intermediate proficiency, and dyads; (b) more attention to task-related variables, meaning-focused tasks, and L2 interactional features; and (c) substantial variability in the measurements of written output. Our results also revealed concerns about research and reporting practices such as inadequate reporting of pre-task training and reliability estimates. The findings imply that CW is a classroom-based domain of research informed by multiple related research areas (i.e., L2 writing, task-based language learning, second language acquisition). Drawing on our findings, we provide a number of empirically-grounded suggestions for future research in this domain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100753
JournalJournal of Second Language Writing
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Collaborative writing
  • L2 writing
  • Methodological synthesis
  • Quantitative research methods
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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