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Addressing the affective domain in doctoral writing
Örebro University, University Library.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7523-8799
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The cognitive aspect of Bloom’s taxonomy is the aspect that primarily has been focused on in the few studies of the writing development of doctoral students that have been made to date (Burford, 2017; Lea & Street, 1998; Lillis & Curry, 2006). The process of becoming a full-fledged academic writer also includes Bloom’s two other domains, the affective and the psychomotor, but these have been less frequently addressed in the literature (Burford, 2017; Habibe, 2015; Hadjioaunnu, Shelton, Fu, & Dhanarattigannon, 2007). The importance of including the emotional aspects of writing in pedagogical practices that support the development of scholarly writing has, however, been noted (Cotterall, 2011; Wellington, 2010).

Cotterall (2011) argues that both knowledge production and identity formation are features of doctoral education, and that doctoral writing is “the means by which doctoral students’ claims to scholarly identity are tested”. Thus, in order for doctoral students to become successful scholarly writers, they need not only to master their discipline’s genre specific writing style and rhetorical requirements, but also need to develop their own writing persona which functions to express a sense of personal identity in their writing.

According to Wellington (2010), there are three main areas where doctoral writers may encounter emotional difficulties in their writing: getting started, handling their unfamiliarity with the “rules of the game”, and emotionally managing receiving feedback, all three of which are addressed in the doctoral writing course Academic Writing, step 1, offered by the Academic Writing Centre at Örebro University. The course has a genre-pedagogical foundation (Swales, 1990, 2004; Swales & Feak, 2012) and focuses on the identification of rhetorical patterns, but also includes peer response techniques, and writing strategies and processes, in order to address the three areas that Wellington (2010) mentions.

The learning outcomes of the course are: 

Knowledge and understanding

  • Identify rhetorical patterns for academic texts from participant’s field of research
  • Identify the characteristics of academic writing

Proficiency and ability

  • Apply basic genre analysis for future academic writing projects
  • Use typical features of academic writing
  • Provide informed peer-response feedback
  • Reflect on writing as a process and self-assess areas of academic writing that require particular focus and improvement

The affective domain of writing is addressed by assigning chapters from Becker (2007) which deal with writing strategies, persona and authority, and risk taking. In writing logs, the doctoral students then express their feelings after reading Becker, and also reflect on their own writing strategies, and experience of giving and receiving peer review during the course.

The course has been held 6 times since its inception in the spring term of 2016 and 66 doctoral students from 22 disciplines have completed the course. The material used in this study is writing logs from 33 course participants, and the results are presented from the point of view of Wellington’s (2010) three main areas of emotional difficulties. The results indicate that the pedagogical considerations taken have indeed served to facilitate the overcoming of these three potential emotional obstacles. 

References

Becker, H. (2007). Writing for social scientists. How to start and finish your thesis, book, or article (2. ed.). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Burford, J. (2017). Conceptualising doctoral writing as an affective-political practice. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 12, 17-32. http://www.informingscience.org/Publications/3689

Cotterall, S. (2011). Doctoral students writing: Where's the pedagogy? Teaching in Higher Education, 16(4), 413-425. doi:10.1080/13562517.2011.560381

Habibe, P. (2015). An investigation into writing for scholarly publication by novice scholars: Practices of Canadian anglophone doctoral students. Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 3281. https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/etd/3281

Hadjioaunnu, X., Shelton, N., Fu, D., & Dhanarattigannon, J. (2007). The road to a doctoral degree: co-travelers through a perilous passage. College Student Journal, 41(1). 160-177. http://go.galegroup.com/ps/anonymous?id=GALE%7CA161282240&sid=googleScholar&v=2.1&it=r&linkaccess=fulltext&issn=01463934&p=AONE&sw=w&authCount=1&isAnonymousEntry=true

Lea, M. & Street, B. (1998). Student writing in higher education: An academic literacies approach. Studies in Higher Education 23(2), 157-172.

Lillis, T. & Curry, M. (2006) Reframing notions of competence in scholarly writing: From individual to networked activity. Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses 51, 63-78.

Swales, J. (1990). Genre analysis: English in academic and research settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Swales, J. (2004). Research genres: Explorations and applications. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Swales, J. & Feak, C. (2012). Academic writing for graduate students. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Wellington, J. (2010). More than a matter of cognition: An explorations of the affective writing problems of post-graduate students and their possible solutions. Teaching in Higher Education, 15(2), 135-15

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-69568OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-69568DiVA, id: diva2:1256256
Conference
NU2018 - Det akademiska lärarskapet, Västerås, Sweden, October 9-11, 2018
Available from: 2018-10-16 Created: 2018-10-16 Last updated: 2018-10-18Bibliographically approved

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Tapper, Marie

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