Learning to cite authority to develop arguments in academic discussions

Mah, Florence Sau-Fong and Ting, Su Hie (2014) Learning to cite authority to develop arguments in academic discussions. [Working Paper] (Submitted)


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The study examines university students’ writing of the discussion text from the aspects of macro organisational structure, language features and citation practices. The study was conducted in a public university and a private university in Malaysia. The students were given four texts on a selected topic and asked to extract relevant points for discussing a given issue. Prior to this, they had been taught how to cite authoritative sources. The analysis of 72 discussion texts indicated that while students provided supporting evidence for arguments, the ability to formulate the issue and the main ideas was weaker. The modal verbs frequently used as hedging devices were can, could and may. Connectors were frequently used to develop arguments as well as to signal similar and contrasting viewpoints but there was a lack of variety in connectors used. To report authoritative sources, the students were balanced in their focus on author and information in their citations. However, the reporting verbs they relied on indicated an attitude of reporting facts. The findings suggest that an important skill to teach in academic writing is the use of reporting verbs to show degree of commitment to the cited claims.

Item Type: Working Paper
Additional Information: Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, UNIMAS
Uncontrolled Keywords: academic writing; discussion; citation, 2014, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, UNIMAS, universiti, university, Borneo, Malaysia, Sarawak, Kuching, Samarahan, IPTA, education, undergraduate, research
Subjects: A General Works > AC Collections. Series. Collected works
A General Works > AC Collections. Series. Collected works
Divisions: Academic Faculties, Institutes and Centres > Centre for Language Studies (rebranded to FLSCS in 2015)
Depositing User: Karen Kornalius
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2014 01:25
Last Modified: 12 May 2022 07:36
URI: http://ir.unimas.my/id/eprint/1057

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