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Wikis as an effective group writing tool: a study in Taiwan

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Purpose ‐ Collaborative writing is an interactive process. It saves time and energy, and it integrates the knowledge of multiple writers. Wiki is a platform for collaborative writing in the Web 2.0 era. This paper's aim is to focus on the many benefits of wikis. Design/methodology/approach ‐ To understand the effect of using wikis on collaborative writing, the authors conducted a laboratory experiment. They measured writing output under three user modalities (face to face, synchronous distribution, and asynchronous distribution) and with two writing tools (a wiki web site and MS Word). Findings ‐ Compared to the use of MS Word, face-to-face collaborative writing with wikis led to significantly higher levels of participation, and externally evaluated quality of the writing product, and satisfaction with the product and process. However there was no significant effect on document length. Satisfaction is significantly higher with wikis than with MS Word in both distributed collaborative writing conditions, but this was not the case for document length and externally evaluated quality. Originality/value ‐ The paper shows that the findings have important implications for business. First wikis do not require professional instructors to facilitate their use in meetings. Second the confirmation of wikis' effectiveness motivates the use of wikis toward a more open business environment.
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Keywords: Collaborative writing; Collaborative writing tools; Group writing; Personal communication networks; Web 2.0; Wiki

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-02-17

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