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Title: The challenges of logical connectors in academic writing : towards a dual-focussed process-oriented model
Author: Holbrook, Gelareh
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 984X
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2013
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Research studies in English linguistics and education have long been seeking ways in which NNSs (non-native speakers) can improve the quality of their writing in order to communicate effectively within Higher Education in English speaking countries. While most ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers and scholars consider coherence as one of the key indicators of good writing, NNS university students are often criticised for producing incoherent writing often due to their misuse of cohesive conventions such as English logical connectors (e.g., conjunctive adverbials and subordinating conjunctions). Scholars in various fields of EAP (English for Academic Purposes), ESL, and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) have suggested that NNSs’ lack of success in the appropriate use of logical connectors is due to a) the complex semantic and syntactic nature of these elements and b) shortcomings in pedagogical approaches. Therefore, there is an urgent need for investigating an alternative pedagogical approach which provides further information on the ESL learners’ conceptual and grammatical difficulties associated with logical connectors from learner perspectives and supports learner understanding of the syntactic and semantic values of logical connectors. This study aims to incorporate a scaffolding technique embedded in a social constructivist approach referred to as Learning Conversations and to investigate the extent to which this approach supports learner development of understanding. This qualitative study was carried out with 9 students studying English academic skills at a language centre based in a UK university. The study has made use of various methods of data collection, namely think-aloud protocols, a diagnostic test, Reflective Learning Evaluation, and Learning Conversations. The constituent tools evolved into a dual-focussed process-oriented model. The data suggest the ESL learners’ developed an increasing understanding of logical connectors they had previously found problematic and difficult to use through the application of this model.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Aberdeen
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Academic writing