In Singular Texts/Plural Authors: Perspectives on Collaborative Writing (1990), Lisa Ede and Andrea Lunsford deconstruct the notion of individual authorship, challenge the assumption (especially in the humanities) that individual authorship has more value than collaborative writing, and outline principles for rethinking as well as teaching collaborative writing. They note that collaborative writing “has a rich history and tradition” but has nonetheless been “marginal” in comparison to “the dominant emphasis on individualism, on writing as an individually creative act, and on ‘objective’ testing as a means of evaluating the intellectual property of solitary writers” (pp. 109-110).

Ede and Lunsford’s chapter on collaborative writing pedagogy hesitates to present “complete definitive guidelines.” They prefer instead to be “much more exploratory ... reflect[ing] the capacity of collaborative writing to ‘open out’ or problematize both theory and practice” (p. 122). However, they suggest that “successful” collaborative writing assignments show the following “characteristics”: group cohesion; cooperation on various levels of tasks; negotiation of group norms, authority, and responsibility; “creative” conflict; “peer and self-evaluation”; student monitoring of their peers’ performance; and the opportunity to reflect on the collaborative process (pp. 123-124).


Ede, L., & Lunsford, A. (1990). Singular texts/plural authors: Perspectives on collaborative writing. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.