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Mature students’ perceptions of academic writing experiences at Malawian undergraduate level

Magela, C. (2019) Mature students’ perceptions of academic writing experiences at Malawian undergraduate level. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00088307


This study takes on a mixed-methods approach in exploring student and lecturer perceptions of academic writing experiences of final year mature-entry undergraduates at the Polytechnic College of the University of Malawi. A questionnaire was completed by 98 final year students of non-English-speaking-background who were enrolled in varied social science, four-year degree programmes. Thirty-five of these students attended retrospective semi-structured interviews. To enable students to talk about their specific experiences of writing different types of texts, several interview questions centred on samples of students’ written work which they had brought along to the interview. Twelve lecturers from the same disciplines as the mature students also completed a questionnaire and attended an interview for further discussion of their questionnaire responses. Several themes emerged from this study regarding mature students’ academic writing experiences. These include gaps between students’ and lecturers’ understanding of writing requirements, ways through which students make sense or increase their understanding of writing requirements and lecturer expectations (e.g. lecturer feedback on written work, interaction and dialogue with fellow students, peer exemplar assignments), factors which exacerbate students’ writing challenges (e.g. lecturers’ assumptions about mature students’ literacy competencies acquired from work and prior study, and mature students’ difficulties in transitioning from professional to academic writing), and recommended support for developing mature students’ academic writing (e.g. student-lecturer dialogue as “pedagogic space”, explicit instruction in academic writing, and increased writing opportunities).

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Furneaux, C. and Jones, R.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Literature and Languages
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:88307


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