Doctoral Peer Writing Groups as a Means of Promoting Well-Being

  • Sara Doody McGill University
  • Maggie McDonnell McGill University
  • Erin Reid McGill University
  • Sarah C. Marshall McGill University
Keywords: collaborative autoethnography, peer writing group (PWG), well-being, doctoral scholars


This collaborative autoethnography explores how a doctoral peer writing group (PWG) has become an important means of fostering well-being among the authors, who are four doctoral scholars. Focusing on how writing in doctoral education can act as a barrier to well-being, defined as feeling part of a community, feeling balanced, and feeling motivated by forward momentum, each author shares her particular experiences with writing and how the PWG has contributed to her well-being. Based on the authors' narratives, the article also suggests how PWGs may be useful in promoting well-being across several levels of education.

Author Biographies

Sara Doody, McGill University

Sara Doody is a doctoral student in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University. She is interested in writing in higher education, particularly in natural and physical science fields. Her current doctoral research explores the relationship between doctoral writing and identity in interdisciplinary science programs.

Maggie McDonnell, McGill University

Maggie McDonnell is a doctoral candidate and course lecturer in McGill University’s Department of Integrated Studies in Education. She also teaches English Literature and Liberal Arts at Vanier College, and is a part-time yoga instructor. Her doctoral research focuses on personal and professional identity in higher education teachers, and the relationship between identity and approaches to assessment. Other research interests include communities of practice, the role of failure in the learning process, and development of academic identity.

Erin Reid, McGill University

Erin Reid is pursuing doctoral studies under the guidance of Dr. Kevin McDonough in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill, investigating the role of religious literacy in second language pedagogy in higher education. Her academic background in second language education and religious studies, along with her eight years’ experience as an educator in the McGill’s Department of Language and Intercultural Communication, have led to her current interdisciplinary research. She was the 2015 recipient of the award for Distinguished Teaching in McGill’s School of Continuing Studies.

Sarah C. Marshall, McGill University

Sarah C. Marshall has been a physiotherapist for over 30 years. At present, she has a university appointment in the PT department at McGill, and one of her tasks is educating Master-level students in the PT program. Sarah’s curiosity about how to teach better has led her to explore curriculum design and pedagogical studies in the Education Department, where she is now a PhD student. Sarah is studying under Dr. Lynn Butler-Kisber in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education (DISE).

How to Cite
Doody, S., McDonnell, M., Reid, E., & Marshall, S. C. (2017). Doctoral Peer Writing Groups as a Means of Promoting Well-Being. LEARNing Landscapes, 10(2), 145-157.