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Title: The study of teacher written feedback : the effectiveness of electronic feedback on student writing revisions
Author: Ma, Bruce Wai Leung
ISNI:       0000 0004 6059 6993
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2017
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The effectiveness of teacher written feedback has been a subject of debate in second language writing for decades. The most basic debate in this area among ESL writing researchers is whether teacher written feedback in various forms has any positive effects on student writing revisions. Among other researchers, Ferris, Lee, Ene & Upton and Stevenson & Phakiti argued that while the effectiveness of error feedback in the traditional paper-and-pen form (Ferris, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and Lee, 2008a, 2008b), computer-facilitated form (Ene & Upton, 2014) or computer-generated form (Stevenson & Phakiti, 2013) was not conclusive, more research should be done to explore in what ways error feedback can be improved. Indeed, the heterogeneity of these studies characterized by different focus, research designs, institutional and instructional contexts, and participant backgrounds, alongside some methodological flaws and misinterpretation of findings identified in my critical review has possibly undermined the validity and reliability of the studies, giving rise to these mixed results for both paper-and-pen feedback and computer-based feedback. As such, the causality between different forms of feedback treatment and their outcomes of error reduction is questioned. With the primary interest in improving the effectiveness of teacher written feedback in error correction, ‘Mark My Words’ (‘MMWs’), the interactive-based electronic feedback system, was designed in such a way to accommodate individual learners’ language needs and to be more responsive to various error types. This study focused on examining on the effectiveness of ‘Mark My Words’ (‘MMWs’), as a kind of computer-facilitated feedback (i.e. electronic feedback), in improving students’ error reduction in their writing revisions, under a controlled condition. The mixed methods approach was adopted, namely the ‘error count’ method and ‘questionnaire’, in this study. The participants were 62 second-year engineering students enrolled in an English for Specific Purposes course in a Hong Kong University. Efforts were made to avoid the impact of extraneous variables on the validity and reliability of the research outcomes under such controlled condition. The positive results of this study can contribute some sort of concrete evidence to the growing body of literature of the ‘effectiveness of teacher written feedback’ and ‘second language writing’, thus clarifying some mixed results of the previous research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available