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Title: A protocol-based study of L2 problem-solving processes in Korean university students' L2 English writing
Author: Choi, Jonggab
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 3925
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Writing has increasingly been emphasised in EFL classrooms in recent years, and Korea is no exception to this trend. The literature indicates that L2 writers experience language problems and attempt to solve them while converting their thoughts into another language. At the moment when learners struggle with a linguistic feature, they become aware of their lack of linguistic knowledge, and try to resolve the problem either by employing their own previously acquired knowledge sources, or by trying to access external knowledge sources. This problem-solving process may occur repeatedly during the L2 writing process. The aims of the current research are threefold: first, it investigates what Korean university learners of English notice while they are writing in L2; second, it attempts to examine what variables are related to and affect learners' noticing during the L2 problem-solving process and; third, the knowledge sources employed by learners when they face language problems are analysed. In order to achieve these aims, 108 English major students were recruited from three high ranked universities in Korea; think-aloud protocols and stimulated-recall interviews comprised the primary means of data collection. All participants were asked to do a writing task in L2 and to verbalise their thoughts while producing written text. Building on the data gathered from the writing task, stimulated recall interviews were carried out in order to identify the sources of knowledge employed to resolve language problems. The results of quantitative data analysis showed that the 108 participants in this study noticed approximately five language problems while writing an L2 text for 20 minutes, and verbally expressed many more lexical episodes than grammatical episodes. Regarding the relations between learner-related variables and noticing during the L2 writing process, previous study abroad experience and L2 proficiency affected learners' noticing. It was also found that L2-based verbal working memory had an effect when learners notice language problems in L2 text production, while L1-based verbal working memory had no effect. Moreover, qualitative data analysis indicated that the participants employed various types of knowledge sources in order to solve lexical or grammatical problems. It was found that both explicit linguistic knowledge sources, such as previously acquired L1-L2 translation word pairs, aspects of word knowledge (i.e., form, meaning, or use), episodic memory or analogy, and implicit knowledge sources, such as intuition, were used during the L2 problem-solving process. Based on these findings, possible implications for L2 writing teaching are discussed, stressing the importance of providing many writing opportunities for students, and suggestions for future research are presented.
Supervisor: Walter, Catherine Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Applied Linguistics ; L2 English writing ; L2 problem-solving processes