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What Difference Does One Academic Year Make? Features And Development Of International Foundation Students’ Academic Lexis In Assessed Writing At A UK University

Therova, Dana (2018). What Difference Does One Academic Year Make? Features And Development Of International Foundation Students’ Academic Lexis In Assessed Writing At A UK University. MRes thesis. The Open University.

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Despite extensive research into academic writing of university students from various linguistic backgrounds and disciplines at various levels of study, little research has focused on longitudinal studies of assessed writing produced by heterogeneous groups of students at a foundation level. This study seeks to fill this gap by investigating the most prevalent examples, features and development of academic lexis used in UK-based international foundation students’ written assignments and the main contributors to this development.

These aims are addressed with the assistance of three tools, namely Text (Bax 2015), AntWordProfiler (Anthony 2013) and AntConc (Anthony 2014) which provide an insight into the qualitative and quantitative aspects of students’ use of academic lexis comprising individual words and phraseologies in accordance with the Academic Word List (Coxhead 2000), the New Academic Vocabulary List (Gardner and Davies 2013), the Academic Collocation List (Ackermann and Chen 2013), and the Academic Formulas List (Simpson-Vlach and Ellis 2010). The textual analysis is complemented by individual qualitative interviews identifying the main contributing factors to the development of the students’ academic lexis.

This small scale longitudinal study is based on a number of written assignments, produced by six international foundation students forming the entire 2016 - 2017 cohort of the International Foundation Programme at a London-based University, which were submitted to the University during the academic year.

The results indicate that despite an extensive usage of individual academic words, the use of academic phraseologies remains surprisingly limited in the students’ assessed writing. Moreover, the most prevalent examples of individual academic vocabulary and collocations seem to be drawn from the assignment topics. In addition, the interview data identified exposure to academic lexis in lessons and reading materials as primary contributors to its development. These findings have potentially important pedagogical implications by highlighting the importance of more explicit teaching of academic lexis and greater exposure to relevant reading materials.

Item Type: Thesis (MRes)
Copyright Holders: 2017 The Author
Keywords: academic writing; rhetoric; foreign students
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Item ID: 53362
Depositing User: Dana Therova
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2018 11:26
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2020 07:41
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