Student writing and academic literacy development in higher education : an institutional case study

Bailey, Richard (2009) Student writing and academic literacy development in higher education : an institutional case study. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

PDF (PhD thesis)

Download (16MB) | Preview


ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to determine how student writing and academic literacy are experienced and perceived in a university by academic staff and students and how pedagogical interactions are influenced by institutional discourses and practices. The research is a form of institutional case study realised through a qualitative, ethnographic-style inquiry. The methodology comprised semi-structured interviews with forty-eight academic staff from a range of disciplinary backgrounds and thirty-five student respondents from diverse areas of study, and discourse-based analyses of textual materials at both the institutional and departmental levels. The findings of the present research revealed that there is variation in the way academic staff perceive the nature and the learning of student academic literacy and their understanding of the practices which support that learning in a university. Students face significant challenges in adapting to variable expectations and managing the requirements of writing and assessment in the contemporary context. The research also revealed that there are structural aspects of higher education practice which appear to have adverse effects on the learning and development of student academic literacy and the capabilities of academic teaching staff to actively support and foster student learning in that domain. There are implications for the role of writing in learning and teaching and its position in the curriculum. It is argued that a more explicit approach should be taken to student academic literacy by embedding it in disciplinary teaching and learning. A number of ways, based on the evidence of this research, are suggested to advance pedagogical research and develop appropriate practice to that end. The findings are linked to wider debates about teaching, learning and educational reform in higher education. The thesis concludes by comparing and contrasting two disparate research paradigms for investigating the higher education experience. A new paradigm is conceptualised which draws on existing models theoretically and empirically but adds dimensions which address the exigencies of research in the contemporary context of higher education. It is argued that this reframing has the potential to raise and enhance the profile of pedagogical and student writing research consonant with current higher education policy aims and ambitions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: X100 Training Teachers
X200 Research and Study Skills in Education
X300 Academic studies in Education
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Related URLs:
Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2010 12:22
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 13:40

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics