Peer Writing Assistance (PWA)

Peer Writing Assistance (PWA)

Welcome to the HDR Mentors: Peer Writing Assistance Program.

The PWA Program supports MRES and HDR candidates in managing thesis writing and research-related activities. The program is based on the principle of collaborative learning in which a more experienced research candidate guides a fellow candidate develop stronger academic writing and research skills.

PWA sessions have concluded for 2019, and will re-open in February 2020. In the interim, any enquiries can be directed to HDR Mentors

Additional information about the program, including what to expect, our PWA Profiles and useful resources are below.

About PWA

The PWA Program supports MRES and HDR candidates in managing thesis writing and research-related activities. The program is based on the principle of collaborative learning in which a more experienced research candidate guides a fellow candidate develop stronger academic writing and research skills.

Collaborative learning means that students who seek help must be active participants in the one-on-one consultations. Complementing this, peer writing assistants are trained to function as a friendly audience or 'fresh pair of eyes' to help students gain new perspective on their writing or research ideas. Peer writing assistants are interested and inquisitive readers who listen closely, ask questions for clarification, and actively respond to student ideas.

All peer writing assistants are PhD candidates at Macquarie.

How The Program Works

Any research candidate currently enrolled at Macquarie is eligible to book in for a 45 minute consultation with a peer writing assistant.

Upon registration, a peer writing assistant will contact the candidate to organise a suitable meeting time and venue.

During the consultation, the peer writing assistant can offer constructive feedback on a piece of writing or respond to questions about developing academic, research or study skills.

What Can A PWA Do For You?

Peer writing assistants can offer suggestions to improve academic writing style, clarity of written expression and organisation and flow of ideas.

They can also share valuable strategies for developing skills in time and project management, and provide opportunities for candidates to practise talking about their research ideas to someone other than their supervisors.

However, peer writing assistants do not correct or proofread written drafts. They may offer suggestions and constructive feedback but cannot make writing decisions for students. We do our best to assign writing assistants to students from the same faculty, but even so, writing assistants cannot be expected to be specialists in the subject areas of the students seeking help.

PWA Profiles


Faculty of Human Sciences

I am Anh, a current PhD candidate from the Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Human Sciences.

I did my MRES Year 2 in 2017. Although I especially focus on pragmatics in English Language Teaching, I am also interested in other research topics such as: Second Language Teaching and Learning, Teacher Professional Development, Language Assessment, Textbook Evaluation, and Qualitative Research Methods in Social Sciences.

As a PWA since early 2017, I have been really enjoying meeting with other HDR students, sharing my experience with them, and working with them to figure out ways to answer their questions and research-related concerns.


Faculty of Arts

Hi, I am Cacee from the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Arts. My area of research is in media and cultural studies. PWA offers me an amazing opportunity to review interdisciplinary papers from a perspective of being an outsider, which enriches my own knowledge and improves my understanding of how to deliver effective feedback.


Faculty of Human Sciences

I am Chloe, currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Human Sciences. My research interests lie in Interpreting Studies and Audiovisual Translation with focus on the cognitive processing of audiovisual products such as subtitled videos. I completed my MRes Year 2 in 2017 and made a successful jump to the PhD study. Realizing that my academic achievements would not have been possible without the tremendous support I received from my supervisors and colleagues, I know that it is time to pass on such kindness and support to those who are in need. The PWA program provides an excellent platform for researchers to share not only knowledge and expertise in doing research, but also ups and downs of the academic journey. The experience of listening to ideas from various disciplines, providing feedback on writing and sharing strategies for coping with different research challenges is really rewarding and beneficial as it not only sharpens my research skills, but also help me develop more transferable skills such as communication skill.


Faculty of Science & Engineering

My name is Ehsan Kachooei and I am a PhD candidate at the Department of Molecular Sciences. My research focuses on the mechanism of cardiac muscle contraction at the molecular level. I do a lot of lab works to make protein samples, then I apply a variety of physical methods, such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), as molecular rulers to measure distances between various sites of a protein molecule. Finally, I will picture out the structure and dynamics of the protein.

I have been doing research for a number of years and have encountered a range of different experiences and challenges– writing being one of them. I enjoy sharing my research life experiences with my peer HDRs, and also learning from them. PWA is a comfortable and lovely platform to meet, to talk, and to share stories


Faculty of Science & Engineering


Faculty of Business & Economics

I was attached to the Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance, Faculty of Business and Economics. I have been working as a higher education lecture since the last two years and have been involved in research on student mentoring and skills development in a higher education college. Apart from this, I am also interested in working with accounting students learning and development in the multicultural context. PWA has been the most rewarding and exciting job I have ever done in my career. Given its ability to provide continuous support and one to one mentoring to students who are at critical stages of their research degree, this experience is very satisfying as well as holds long term career options for those who have the passion to help fellow students. I hope to engage positively and provide continuous support to this project.


Faculty of Science & Engineering

Hi, my name is Samiya. I have recently submitted my PhD thesis in the Department of Biological Sciences and am now working as a researcher at Macquarie University. My PhD project looked at invasive plants and how they have changed since they have spread through Australia. I have been a peer writing assistant since 2018 and I have really enjoyed meeting HDR students and learning about their work. Throughout my journey at Macquarie I have amassed a wealth of knowledge about the HDR journey and I hope that I can impart some useful nuggets of wisdom to people.


Faculty of Science & Engineering

Hi, my name is Sebastian. I am a PhD student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

My research focuses on the study of quantum geometries and the role of quantum effects in the formation of spacetime singularities and black hole horizons. I have been involved as a HDR Mentor ever since I started my PhD at Macquarie and have enjoyed meeting my peers from different academic backgrounds.

Through my involvement in the PWA programme I am hoping to assist research students in their writing process and share what I have learned so far.


Faculty of Human Sciences

Hi, my name is Vani. I am Ph.D. candidate in the department of Psychology. My research explores beauty ideals in different cultures across the world and how it may be influenced by social media use in young girls today. I have been a Peer Writing Assistant since April 2018, which has been an incredibly rewarding experience so far. It has not only reinforced my love for research but presented me with opportunities to learn about the extraordinary work HDR's are doing across various disciplines. Giving my peers feedback on their writing has helped me reflect and improve my own style of writing!

Useful Resources

HDR Learning Skills (Website and iLearn)

HDR Professional Development (Website and iLearn)

Student Wellbeing (Website and UniWellbeing Course)

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I attend a PWA session?

PWA face to face sessions are only available on the North Ryde campus. However, we are able to offer zoom/skype sessions to our city campus or distance students.

How many PWA sessions can I book in for a semester?

As an enrolled MRes Year 2 or PhD candidate at MQ, you are able to attend a maximum of 5 PWA sessions each study period. This is for two reasons. First, spaces are limited for our PWA sessions, and secondly, our aim is to equip you with the tools and insight to move forward productively without our support.

What happens if I can no longer attend my scheduled PWA session?

Contact your PWA Mentor as soon as possible. You can negotiate a new time that suits both.

How long is the process from registering to actually seeing my PWA?

The system is monitored 3 times each week for new registrations, and these are immediately allocated to a PWA. The actual time it takes to have the session depends on both your and your PWA Mentor's availability, however this must occur within 3 weeks of your PWA's initial email to you. *Please note there are a limited number of available sessions to be booked per month, and it may not be feasible for a meeting until the following month. If this maximum has already been reached, your PWA will advise you of such.

Who can I contact if I feel I need additional support beyond that which my PWA can provide?

HDR Learning Skills has numerous resources available to assist you during your candidature here at MQ. You are also able to book a 1:1 consultation with the HDR Learning Advisor from your Faculty to discuss your writing concerns.

I am in my first year of the BPhil/MRes Program. Can I attend a PWA session?

Unfortunately, no. Our PWA mentors are trained to aid with research programs, not coursework. If you require assistance with your coursework - including referencing, essay writing or finding appropriate resources, the Learning Skills Unit will be able to assist you.

I am a post doc/research staff/visiting scholar. Can I attend a PWA session?

Our PWA mentors are MQ PhD candidates who have been trained to provide support to PhD and MRes Y2 candidates only.

I am not an enrolled student. Can I book a session?

If you are visiting MQ for research purposes, albeit are enrolled in a PhD elsewhere, you are able to register an interest for a PWA session. However, priority is given to MQ enrolled candidates.

Contact Us

Peer Writing Assistance Program

Email: and

Back to the top of this page