Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Understanding of non-technical words in chemistry : a case study of Saudi EFL (English as a Foreign Language) college students
Author: Shafi, A.
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2020
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Thesis embargoed until 27 Jul 2023
Access from Institution:
The purpose of this research is to explore Saudi English as a Foreign Language (EFL) college students' understanding of non-technical words in chemistry. The study is premised on constructivism as a theory of learning. Although studies have been conducted on English Language Learners and non-technical words in general science, they are limited with respect to adult learners. Similar studies in the discipline of chemistry are even more scarce; and that pertaining to Saudi EFL college students appears non-existent. This thesis adopts a case study design that incorporates a mixed methods research design variant termed sequential explanatory design. There are two distinct phases in this design. The first phase is a corpus-based study whereby corpora made from the Saudi students' chemistry textbook were analysed through the production of keyword lists. This led to the identification of 46 potentially problematic non-technical words of various kinds including both common and uncommon everyday lexis, as well as those situated as verbs, nouns and adjectives. The second phase involved interviewing eleven Saudi EFL college students to explore their understanding of eleven non-technical words derived from the first phase. The findings from this thesis make several original contributions to existing knowledge in the field of chemistry education. This includes the identification of numerous potential non-technical words related to secondary chemistry. Also, the findings gave insights into the nature of Saudi EFL college students' comprehension of these words including commonalities and idiosyncrasies in their conceptions of concepts in chemistry. Further, it was found that their first language has a bearing on how non-technical words are understood in English. The students' varied proficiencies in both English and their mother tongue, Arabic, have similar consequences in this regard. Solutions are suggested for a dilemma in this research context related to the conflicting aims of English and chemistry courses in Foundation Year programs. As a result, this novel study identifies several areas for future research within this area of study.
Supervisor: Hetherington, L. ; Moore, D. ; Skinner, N. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: chemistry education ; Saudi EFL students ; non-technical words