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Title: An investigation into the academic writing difficulties of Saudi postgraduate students
Author: Alharbi, Noof Saleh M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 9088
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2017
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This interpretive study aims to investigate the difficulties in English academic writing as perceived by Saudi postgraduate students and their English supervisors in an English-speaking country. In accordance with the exploratory nature of the methodological approach adopted in this study, the research design of the current study employs a sequential mixed-methods design. The quantitative phase is represented by the questionnaire whereas semi-structured interviews and document analysis constitute the qualitative phase. From the sample, 275 students were asked to fill in the prepared questionnaire whilst 15 students, of both genders, and 9 supervisors were asked to participate in an interview. Ten samples of students’ written feedback from their supervisors were provided. Data were analysed quantitatively using SPSS descriptive statistics and qualitatively using MAXQDA software. The findings of the current study revealed that Saudi postgraduate students face the following difficulties in their English academic writing: not having sufficient academic vocabulary, avoiding plagiarism, using cohesive devices properly, constructing logical arguments, making coherent links between ideas, and demonstrating critical thinking in their academic writing. Furthermore, the current study highlighted that the difficulties could be attributed to a number of factors, including those related to learners, context, and instruction. Several strategies were proposed that could assist Saudi students in improving their academic writing. Additionally, the lack of academic preparation in the KSA had a negative influence on the proficiency of Saudi postgraduate students in their English academic writing, resulting in disparities between the expectations placed on students in their postgraduate studies in the UK and the actual results achieved by Saudi students. The findings also revealed that EAP courses in the UK often aided students in learning writing techniques; however, these courses have certain limitations. According to the findings of the current study, a theoretical model is suggested to help Saudi postgraduate students in their English academic writing. Based on the study findings, implications are drawn for policy makers and for practice in the education system in Saudi Arabia. Finally, suggestions for further research are provided.
Supervisor: Troudi, S. ; Myhill, D. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Academic writing ; Saudi postgradute students ; Writing difficulties