Article published in:Postgraduate Writing in a Globalised World
Edited by Emmaline Lear and Elke Stracke
[Australian Review of Applied Linguistics 39:2] 2016
► pp. 158–180
Challenges faced by second language doctoral student writers in Hong Kong and their writing strategies
Writing at the doctoral level presents many challenges for second language writers. This paper reports on a longitudinal study investigating English as a second language (ESL) doctoral students’ writing problems and the strategies they developed to meet these challenges. Eight students were interviewed four times over a two-year period during their doctoral program and a questionnaire was sent to over 150 postgraduate students to investigate their major writing challenges and their self-initiated strategies. The findings suggested that students’ writing challenges were in two main areas: difficulties with expressing complex ideas in a second language; and difficulties with developing confidence and a convincing academic voice. This paper focuses on the strategies students developed to deal with their writing challenges and uses one case to show how these evolved over a two-year period. Strategies used consistently and successfully included using expert writing such as academic articles as writing ‘models’ and the use of peer support networks that provided advice and feedback on the students’ writing and also offered opportunities for academic collaboration. The study adds to our growing knowledge of the resources and support available to doctoral writers, highlighting the use of social and academic networking and the role played by textual resources such as articles and theses as textual mentors.
Keywords: Doctoral writing, writing problems, postgraduate ESL writers, textual appropriation, writing strategies
Published online: 07 February 2017
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