This paper explores an innovative approach to evaluating the effectiveness of a writing group in an Australian research-intensive university. Traditional qualitative and quantitative methods typically applied in higher-education research may be effective in analysing the output of writing groups; however, they do not always address the affective domain of writing and giving and receiving feedback in a small-group context. The group had previously evaluated its practice with a speed-dating activity, itself an innovative approach designed for efficiency and to take advantage of the size and diversity of the group. The changing membership of the group, from eight to four participants, warranted a methodology appropriate to the intimacy of the group. In this paper, three theoretical frameworks are used to conceptualise the practice of the smaller group: communities of practice, peer mentoring and affect theory. The methodologies of critically reflective practice and memory work described here emerged from these theoretical frameworks.