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Title: Disciplinary engagement in undergraduate writing : An investigation of clause-initial elements in geography essays
Author: Hewings, Ann
ISNI:       0000 0004 2674 039X
Awarding Body: The University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 1999
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Research into academic writing in the UK has largely been confined to texts produced by professional academics and has focused on generic characteristics. This thesis investigates writing by novices, undergraduate students, and seeks to identify discipline-specific characteristics in the field of Geography. The demands of writing for different disciplines are seen as affecting the process and product of writing. The thesis develops a framework for the analysis of writing based on information contained within the initial elements of the clause-complex, focusing on theme, thematic progression and the grammatical subject. It sees writing as a socially-situated activity and the linguistic analysis is set within an understanding of the disciplinary setting. A corpus of essays written by first and third year Geography students is analysed and comparisons drawn between writing in the two year groups and between essays on physical and human geography topics. Findings from the research relate to two areas. First, the framework proved successful in highlighting characteristics and contrasts in the data, particularly with regard to multiple theme and variations in types of grammatical subject. Second, Geography essays showed a shift in rhetorical focus from first to third year. First year students focused on a demonstration of understanding basic content, particularly in physical geography. Third year students engaged more with disciplinary argument, making linguistic choices which highlighted evaluation and synthesis of theories and research. The implications for further research and teaching are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available