What is RAW?
RAW is the (semi-humourous) acronym for a cooperative Research and Writing group that meets fortnightly during term time in order to help its members develop their written texts, whether these be articles, chapters, proposals, bids, talks or some other genre of academic communication. Individuals circulate their draft text in advance, at whatever stage of readiness it has reached, along with information regarding proposed addresses and/or any specific questions to which the writer would like a response.
The RAW session itself lasts for ninety minutes and is roughly organised around three phases: Clarification, Critique and Collaboration. During the Clarification phase, we (try to) restrict our questions to making sure that we have well understood what the writer wants to say, avoiding any introduction of our own opinions or arguments. During the Critique phase, we bring in these opinions and arguments in a free discussion. Under Collaboration, we make such suggestions as we can as to how the writer make best take their piece forward. These phases are clearly not watertight, but we have found that keeping them in mind is not only supportive of the individual, but also helpful in keeping our group discourse coherent as well as in building group collegiality. The session usually ends with a statement of appreciation by the writer and a brief summary of what they have taken from it.