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An exploration of how Higher Education L2 learners conceptualise and articulate voice in assessed academic writing on an intensive pre-sessional EAP course at a UK University

Matipano, John (2018) An exploration of how Higher Education L2 learners conceptualise and articulate voice in assessed academic writing on an intensive pre-sessional EAP course at a UK University. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract This research was an exploration of L2 learner’s conception and articulation of student voice at a UK University in end of course Academic Research Project (ARP) on an intensive English pre-sessional course using Hyland’s (2005) conceptual framework of voice to conduct a text analysis. The research analysed six texts from two disciplines, namely Political Science and Civil Engineering. Each ARP was randomly selected from the top, middle and lower tier from the two disciplines. The aim of the research was to conduct an Exit Interview as a form of a Needs Analysis in reverse formation for purposes of updating the pre-sessional English for Academic Purposes course at this institution. The results indicated that the debate of whether academic writing is a genre in its own right or not (Spack, 1988) is still very much alive in the field of English for Academic Purposes (EAP). This was exhibited in diverse ways as L2 learners in these two disciplines rhetorically manipulate the concept of leaner voice in academic writing in very different ways across the divide. The research also acknowledged that ‘Writing with authority’ (Hyland, 2002a) was a concept that was valued across the divide and more so in Political Science. The use of voice parameters from the conceptual framework called, Attitude Markers (AM) and Appeal to Shared Knowledge (ASK) were key to presentation of arguments or propositions from both the writer (stance) and reader (engagement) perspectives in both disciplines but it was quite apparent that THE use Boosters (B) to express certainty is highly valued in Civil Engineering. It was also clear that poor handling of voice and increased use of Hedging (H) did not impress assessors of ARPs in terms of the grade awarded to the ARPs in this sample. This research also reiterated that the concept of voice is still much alive in UK classrooms at tertiary institutions that have L2 learners of English (Grow, 2007) despite the views by (Helms-Park and Stapleton, 2003) that the concept is over-rated. Another finding of the research was that language, culture, power and ideology are at the centre of the concept of student voice in academic writing (Fairclough, 2014a). From the research it was also clear that student’s writing a ‘high stakes’ (Beck and Jeffrey, 2007) assessment in English need to draw from their various identities (Bartholomae, 1986; Shen, 1989) to socially mediate meaning in academic writing in English.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.772889
Depositing User: Rev John Matipano
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2019 08:32
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2019 20:07
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23669

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