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Clinical Trial

Using Appraisal Theory to Help Graduate Students Improve Writing Skills

The purpose of this study is to examine if graduate students understand key factors and functions of incorporating sources in research-based writing, and if targeted instruction using Appraisal Theory could improve their writing skills in this genre. Graduate students might lack fundamental understanding of research writings (Bitchener & Banda, 2007) and they are often challenged in how to effectively discuss other resources to argue for the significance of their topic (Peng, 2019; Xie, 2016), which is closely related to the interpersonal aspect of research writing. The hypothesis of the study is that explicit genre instruction using Appraisal Theory (Hood, 2010; Martin and White, 2005), the most recent development in Systemic Functional Linguistics, could help students improve their academic writing skills on how to effectively engage with other sources and persuade readers of the value of their writing. Specifically, this study will examine students? understanding of the interpersonal feature of research-based articles (how do researchers engage with other sources and evaluate other sources to persuade readers of the value of their writings), and if graduate students are able to compose effective research-related writings after receiving targeted explicit instruction in this area. Participants? draft and revisions (before instruction and after instruction) will be collected and analyzed to find differences/improvement in their writings. This study could shed light on what type of pedagogical practices are effective in helping graduate students improve their writing skills to engage with and evaluate other sources in research-based articles.

Eligibility Criteria

Contact Information

    Jun Zhao

    (304) 710-9928