As an inspiration for model development, we used Belcher’s book “Writing Your Journal in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success”. The book helped outline the different stages of the writing process, the structure of the text, and the elements of the writing work. Concrete tips for peer-to-peer models and writing challenges can also be found in other works .
From the initial design stage to writing the summary and until the dissertation was submitted to the pre-examination, we had a total of about eight months, of which full-time writing was a couple of months. We decided on the date by which the dissertation will be submitted for pre-examination. This encouraged you to stay on schedule.
It is not necessary to proceed according to the timetable presented here, but the idea is to agree on a common timetable and tasks and proceed accordingly. We met every two weeks. We agreed at every meeting what we write for the next meeting and the second for comment. We read each other’s texts before the meeting, and we were preparing to comment on them. At the end of the meeting, we planned what we will write for the next meeting. At each meeting we agreed on the date of the next meeting and the homework. Next, we present the fourteen peer meeting schedule, our own experience of the writing process, and a table summarizing the peer support model in concrete steps.
1st Peer Meeting: Initial Preparation
At first, we collected information on other article dissertations. We already asked about how they wrote their summaries and collected about 10 dissertations, the structure of which we examined. In particular, we looked at the structure of the table of contents, calculated the number of pages, headings and tables of the different parts, and tried to understand what all the dissertation summarizes.
- Peer Meeting: Outline the Table of Contents
We started by compiling a summary of the dissertation based on other examples of the preliminary table of contents. Although the structure of the table of contents changed during the process, writing was facilitated by the fact that the table of contents contains a limited number of different parts. The Table of Contents helped you figure out how many pages are available in different sections.
- Peer-to-Peer Meeting: The whole summary is abstract
At this point, it was still difficult for us to know what the central message of the entire dissertation is, and that is why we moved on from the main results of the articles. Next, we wrote a preliminary, abstract summary. The idea first seemed to be a stranger, but we followed the idea of Belcher that first of all it would be worthwhile to work out the whole work abstract. The abstract consisted mainly of summarizing the results of the articles into one page. The writing of the abstract helped to conceive the totality of the research and tune us into the broader results of the research and the theoretical approach. We wrote the abstract again when the summary was almost complete.
- Peer Review: a summary of articles
The summary of the dissertation is based on the results of the articles. We made summaries of about two pages for each article. In our own dissertations, this section remained almost as such in the final dissertation. The summaries form the actual part of the dissertation, where we highlighted the most important results and discussions.
- Peer Meeting: Summary Table of Articles and Methods
We made a table listing the title of each article, the main research question, the material and the research method. Making the table helped to clarify the central research question of the dissertation.
6th peer meeting: research questions
In the summary of the dissertation you can have a broader discussion than just present the results of the articles. The summary can thus be thought of as forming your own research. We started with article research questions and based on them we came up with one central, compiling research question. Initially, this top-level question was common, but in the end, a broader research question emerged that combined the articles into a wider entity.
- Peer Meeting: Key Concepts
Next, we will discuss the essential concepts of research. At the same time, we are wondering which theoretical discussions are based on our research, and which literature we are discussing. We are wondering what the concepts were like in the articles and what were new. We try to limit what we use in the summary. Working on concepts continued throughout writing the summary.
8 to 11. Peer Meeting: Theory, that is, everything that comes before the method section
Writing the theory class took the most time and was challenging. We were helped by the idea that theory is a way of thinking – a framework – through which research results are perceived and delimited. In articles, theory cannot often be opened up due to lack of space, but it can be written in more general terms. The summary will inevitably lead to repetition in relation to the articles. Theoretically, theories can be opened up in detail and even “graduate”. We had a total of four peer meetings on theory. There may be more or less appointments, depending on how the writing progresses.
At this point, we benefited from having the opportunity to read and write. We read the new literature related to theory and we already read it, but we found out that it wasn’t time to read. On the basis of the peer’s comments, we found that there was less need for the dissertation than was originally thought. Providing unfinished text to others for reading at a low threshold was very helpful. The timetables agreed at this stage helped us to advance; forced is often the best motivator.
- Peer Review: Material and Method
Our method numbers were largely based on articles, but we expanded them. We wrote the method number thesis.
- Peer Review: Arguments of the dissertation
The dissertation must state that you need an essential argument / argument . In the peer review, we wrote the three main points of the study for post it, ie the main arguments of the dissertation, which were the main results of the research. Initially, it was difficult to self-summarize his own research, but the discussion with his peer helped to narrow the central message of the study. We try to link research questions, theory, results, and arguments based on them; They form a summary of the dissertation’s red thread.
- Peer Meeting: Conclusions
We only wrote the conclusions of the summary at the end when the whole was outlined. Writing conclusions took about 2-3 weeks, and we wrote them several times. At this point, we also read each other’s summary once. Finally, we checked the list of sources and this was a surprising amount of time.
A summary of the ‘peer support doctor’ model
At the time of writing the summary of the dissertation we got many Acha experiences.
First, the summary should be relatively tight, uniform, and have a clear red thread. The different parts of the whole depend on each other: research questions, key concepts, theory, and (empirical) results form a whole. It’s good to think about the reader and tell the story. Although this is a thesis, the summary of the dissertation is at best an interesting and even engaging writing. If your peer doesn’t understand what you’re trying to say, try to clarify your text. It is easy to find yourself in your own subject that it may be difficult to see that things are not as self-evident to others.
Secondly, the articles form a dissertation. The articles are the essence of the dissertation, which summarizes them. Thus, the summary may have repetition in relation to the articles, especially as regards methods, theory and previous literature. You may also think that article readers are more specialized, while the summary is written for a more general readership.
Third, remember the low threshold. Start typing on a low threshold – sit down and write, even if it feels so difficult. If writing is difficult or you avoid it, get inspiration from writing guides. Also remember to let your peer read your texts at an early stage. Writing writings are reversing and it may be difficult to return to the text. So you should write on a regular basis. Writing can also be enjoyable, and it may seem important to get the thoughts and opinions created during the dissertation in the text.
Finally, the importance of peer support
In this article, we have introduced a model that allows teachers, tutors and students to increase peer support in university studies. In addition to the peer-to-peer meetings, the centerpiece of our peer-to-peer model is the stimulating, constructive and positive feedback that is constantly present. The task of the peer friend is to encourage and create the belief that the dissertation can be completed even when one’s own faith is tried. Share your concerns, successes, and pity!
The peer does not have to be an expert in the same subject or field, but synergies can also arise between different disciplines. The greatest benefit of peer support at the same time is the work and also the positive pressure that the agreed timetables create.
The communal learning model presented here can at best increase the motivation of doctoral researchers, reduce the burden and streamline the progress of work. With the help of the peer support model you can both share the challenges you face and find solutions together. In addition, the model challenges universities to develop the often individual approach to doctoral projects. We encourage authors, supervisors, and those responsible for developing university teaching to expand and develop peer-review methods.