Transitivity Shifts in Academic Writing

| December 1, 2012
Transitivity Shifts in Academic Writing

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Angelia Lu
Nanyang Technological University,
National Institute of Education

Bio Data
Angelia Lu has a PhD in Linguistics from Macquarie University.  She has been invited as an expert panelist on international conferences and symposium to speak on topics such as Social Media, Multimodality and Leadership, as well as Bilingualism and Religion. She is a co-principal investigator and collaborator of written research grants worth over 100 K, studying socio-cognitive processes in academic writing and religious ideologies and literacy practices. She is currently involved in research on multilingualism, bilingualism, multi-modalities, writing and code-switching. She has created an Iphone app “Academic Writing Template App” found in Iphone and Android Stores, and has served as editor and mentor for internationally refereed journals Asian EFL Journal and Reading in a Foreign Language.

This is an experimental non-equivalent designs study, comparing four groups of ESL students who have drafted a scientific essay. The main research question of this study is whether there is an observable difference in clause types as students progressed from draft to draft. T-tests and the one way ANOVA were used to test if there was a significant difference in clausal change between the groups. Results are as follows: (a) The group who had peer feedback before teacher and verbal feedback became statistically more inclined than other groups to add material processes (i.e., clauses that include action verbs) to improve scientific aspects; (b) effect sizes are moderately significant for the rise in material processes observed in this same group, compared with other groups who either had teacher feedback first or administered self-feedback. The results hint that the ESL students could be more vigilant in improving material clauses than relational clauses in scientific expository essays. This has important pedagogical implications that students may choose to place a greater focus on improving scientific aspects rather than expository aspects of an essay entitled “Should genetic modification be approved?”
[private] See page: 107-133

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 14 Issue 4