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Across-disciplinary variations in the writing of EFL students at university level: a systemic functional perspective

Kurdali, Bader (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This research investigates the writing of EFL university students at the English department of a major university in Syria. Using Systemic Functional Linguistics as an analytical framework, the study applies Thematic analysis to students’ exam essays across two disciplines: language and literature, with the aim of exploring the differences in the language choices that students make in meeting the relevant disciplinary requirements. Another aspect of the study is to analyse student writing across different academic level with a view to identifying the nature of students’ developing writing maturity.
Based on the assumption of an existing strong connection between the text and the broader context, the research investigates the possible influence of other contextual factors including the essay questions, model essays from the textbooks, and teacher’s views and perceptions.
The findings from Thematic analysis point to the importance of interpersonal meaning in understanding this across-disciplinary variation in terms of building the argument and answering the essay question. The research shows potential pedagogical benefits in raising students’ awareness to the important function of different linguistic choices, particularly those with Thematic positions, in achieving the purpose of the text.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Gardner, Sheena
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Education
Subjects:LB2300 Higher Education
PE English
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:4144
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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