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Collaborative writing with wikis: an empirical investigation

Helen S. Du (School of Management, Guangdong University of Technology, Guangzhou, China AND Institute of Big Data Strategic Research, Guangdong University of Technology, China)
Sam K.W. Chu (Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong,Hong Kong)
Randolph C.H. Chan (Department of Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, New Territories, Hong Kong)
Wei He (Department of Management and Marketing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 13 June 2016




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the process and interaction among group members using wikis to produce collaborative writing (CW) projects, and to compare their collaborative behavior among students at different levels of education.


The study investigated the participation and collaboration of Hong Kong primary school, secondary school, and university students in the process of developing their wiki-based CW projects. Both qualitative and quantitative data were obtained from analyzing the revision histories and the content of wiki pages.


Results indicated that the level of education significantly affected student CW actions, and their interaction and coordination behavior to co-construct the work. Also, the frequency of collaborative activities varied noticeably among the primary, secondary, and university students.

Practical implications

The study enriches our understanding of the complex and dynamic process of CW using wikis. It has practical implications on why and how the pedagogy and technology should be implemented differentially for the students at three different levels of education to facilitate collaborative knowledge construction.


Research to date is still lacking an in-depth knowledge about the processes and activities involved when students write collaboratively on wikis. Also, no study has yet compared the collaborative behavior among students at different levels of education. The results of this study contribute to the development of new and appropriate modes of group-based collaborative learning at all levels of the education system for the twenty-first century.



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China fund (No. 71572050) and the Guangdong Graduate Education Innovation Project fund (No. 2016XSLT17).


Du, H.S., Chu, S.K.W., Chan, R.C.H. and He, W. (2016), "Collaborative writing with wikis: an empirical investigation", Online Information Review, Vol. 40 No. 3, pp. 380-399.



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