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Investigating first year science students' academic writing development
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 14:34 authored by Khatmah Alanazi
This study investigates academic writing tutors' perceptions of their students' performance and compares it with an analysis of first-year science students' academic writing. Specifically, it examines the challenges tutors perceive students to face when writing in academic contexts and then explores the linguistics resources students choose when writing in a scientific academic context. To achieve this aim, two sets of data were collected: tutor interviews and students' texts. The data from the tutor interviews was analysed to reveal academic writing tutors' perceptions of their students' academic writing abilities and challenges. The students' texts were then analysed to examine how effectively students make meanings valued in scientific contexts. To examine students' texts, Systemic Functional Linguistic analysis is employed; specifically, the study examines the ideational meanings (i.e., experiential and textual meanings) and textual meanings within the texts. The findings reveal that the students of science face some linguistics challenges across both the LexicoGrammar (e.g., under-using more valued specialised and technical entities; overusing less valued logical relations) and the Discourse Semantics (e.g., thematic progression). The data also show that there is some alignment between tutors' perceptions of students' writing development and their actual writing performance (e.g., lack of lexical variation and cohesion across the text). The study concludes with a discussion proposing the most critical areas for instructional intervention to focus to assist students in overcoming these linguistic challenges.