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Title: A genre-based investigation of master's dissertation literature reviews : relating students' practices to disciplinary cultures
Author: Liu, Pei Chun
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2012
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Writing a dissertation literature review (LR) is an unavoidable task for graduate students. However, the previous findings concerning LR generic features remain unrelated to the students' decision-making process, making these findings less useful for students from different disciplines and also less useful for materials design. This study relates students' actual practices of the LR to disciplinary cultures through a combination of a quantitative geme-based approach and a qualitative case-study approach. The LR sections from thirty master's dissertations are collected and analyzed based on the LR schematic structure model modified from previous work (e.g. Kwan 2006). Disciplines covered in this study include Computer Sciences (COM), Accounting and Finance (AF), and International Relations (IR). Two informants from each of these three disciplines are recruited. They are asked to provide their LR drafts at different stages so that in-depth interviews can be conducted based on their own LR drafts and the cumulative findings from the quantitative approach. Findings show that the LR structures used and the rhetorical . choices made by the r: students embody their knowledge of the disciplinary cultures and the way a dissertation project should be presented. There is no one-size-fits-all pattern for the LR structure. The IR LR displays a wider variety both in the choice and structural combination of the rhetorical actions. Although the COM and the AF students choose similar rhetorical actions and follow more regular patterns in structuring, they perceive the function of the LR differently, presenting different connections between the LR and the rest of the dissertation. Pedagogically, this study highlights the importance of the selection and achievement of different rhetorical goals based on the emphases of the disciplines. Any framework of generic structure should be seen as a set of options to choose from, but not as a 'standard' to be imposed on the diverse practices. This study also provides EAP teachers and subject supervisors with textual examples of disciplinary realizations concerning the rather abstract rhetorical goals of the LRs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available