Defensibility and accountability: developing a theoretically justifiable academic writing intervention for students at tertiary level
Drennan, Laura Maria
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Abstract not availableThis study was inspired by the growing concern among academic lecturers that the academic writing skills of students have deteriorated steadily over the past few years. This is particularly the case as students transition from undergraduate to postgraduate studies, where they are expected to produce lengthy, complex academic papers. Why is it that students progress through their undergraduate studies and are not yet able to negotiate academic writing adequately at postgraduate level? How do the writing needs of students entering postgraduate studies compare to those of students at undergraduate level? What is it that makes academic discourse so unique, and how does it differ across fields of study? What constitutes the ability to write academically in specific academic contexts, and how can interdisciplinary collaboration aid in students’ acquisition of the disciplinary academic writing skills necessary to make a success of their tertiary studies? These are some of the questions that prompted the current study, as well as other related research, which will be addressed in chapters that follow. Essentially, the thesis addresses two converging issues: the international trend and quest for greater accountability, resulting in an emphasis on measuring the impact of academic literacy interventions, and how that interfaces with the challenge of the massification of higher education, and the arrival of underprepared students on its threshold. The sections that follow outline the features of the current South African higher education context that serve to inform the research problem, the respective aims and the methodology of this particular study, together with a related impact assessment research study conducted by the researcher.