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ORIGINALITY, CONFORMITY AND CONTENT-RESPONSIBILITY Hilary Nesi Coventry University February 28 2015.

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Presentation on theme: "ORIGINALITY, CONFORMITY AND CONTENT-RESPONSIBILITY Hilary Nesi Coventry University February 28 2015."— Presentation transcript:

1 ORIGINALITY, CONFORMITY AND CONTENT-RESPONSIBILITY Hilary Nesi Coventry University February

2 With particular reference to students’ use of sources Are international students misled, or under-informed? Are they prepared and assessed in the skills that departments actually expect from them?

3 Writing assignments seems to be more important here (in the UK). I was never taught to write in an academic way and essays only play a minor role in my degree course in my country. – Kristian University of Southampton’s Prepare for Success website

4 EARLY STAGE ‘ACADEMIC’ WRITING AROUND THE WORLD Generally speaking International students have limited experience of any kind of writing, in any language Staff -student ratios do not allow for individual assessment and feedback English Academic Writing (EAW) is conceptualised in a variety of ways, even within the same institution.

5 Geary (2008) found that Taiwanese instructors conceptualized EAW in two opposing ways: 1. as ‘research’ writing, where the views and research of others was far more highly valued than the views of the student writer or 2. as ‘creative’ writing, where the student writer’s views were paramount, and did not require support from external sources Students were taught one way or the other, depending on the class they attended, and on the textbook the instructor chose. Geary, M. (2008) Constructing Conceptualizations of English Academic Writing within an EFL Context. (Unpublished PhD thesis)

6 The Taiwanese instructors were unaware of any inconsistency They assumed that: they all shared the same conceptualizations of EAW the EAW textbook writer shared their conceptualizations of EAW The textbook mirrored conceptualizations of EAW in English- dominant overseas contexts

7 IN FACT, THE TEXTBOOK REFLECTED TEST REQUIREMENTS: Language proficiency tests for university entrance also seem to lurch between these two views of EAW, as ‘research’ writing or ‘creative’ writing (whereas successful academic writing is actually a combination of both)

8 WRITING TASK 1 The graphs below give information about computer ownership ………...summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant. WRITING TASK 2 A person’s worth nowadays seems to be judged according to social status and material possessions. Old-fashioned values, such as honour, kindness and trust, no longer seem important. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. This is EAW as ‘creative’ writing (no references to external sources) These are ‘background’ sources, to accept as fact

9 PTE ACADEMIC SUMMARY WRITING TASK You have 10 minutes to write your summary. Make sure to include the main points of the reading passage in a full, single sentence of no more than 75 words This is ‘research’ EAW – using a‘background’ source (for no particular communicative purpose)

10 PTE ACADEMIC SUMMARY WRITING TASK You have 10 minutes to write your summary. Make sure to include the main points of the reading passage in a full, single sentence of no more than 75 words This is ‘research’ EAW – using a‘background’ source (for no particular communicative purpose) NB there are no summary assignments in BAWE

11 AN EDUCATIONAL TESTING SERVICE (ETS) SUMMARY WRITING TASK test-takers are required to e.g. ‘read a passage, then to listen to a lecture discussing the same topic from a different point of view, and to summarize the points made in the lecture, explaining how they cast doubt on points made in the reading.’ Beigman-Klebanov et al (2014) An ‘integrated’ task, but are the student writer’s views integrated into the summary?

12 THE EMPHASIS IS ON REPRODUCING CONTENT Score 4 is generally good in selecting the important information from the lecture..., but it may have a minor omission. Score 3 contains some important information from the lecture..., but it may omit one major key point. Score 2 contains some relevant information from the lecture... The response significantly omits or misrepresents important points. Score 1 provides little or no meaningful or relevant coherent content from the lecture.

13 ETS CLAIMS TO REFLECT THE US ‘COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS ANCHOR STANDARDS FOR WRITING’ (CCRA.W) Part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which aims to define ‘the skills and understandings that all students must demonstrate’.

14 CCRA.W STANDARDS RELATING TO THE USE OF SOURCES: College-ready students will be able to “gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism”.

15 ALL USEFUL SKILLS, BUT…. The CCRA.W standards seem to imply that source use simply involves gathering, selecting, and integrating sources into the student work (with appropriate acknowledgements) But at university level, sources should also support the writer’s own communicative purpose, too. See Bizup (2008)…..

16 BIZUP’S CATEGORISATION OF ACADEMIC SOURCES: According to the way they are used, sources can be: Background sources, which you expect your reader to simply trust outright Exhibit sources, primary sources which you analyse to sustain your claims and deal with counter-claims Argument sources, secondary sources of theories, concepts etc. which you affirm, dispute, refine or extend in some way Method sources, which model the methods you use Bizup, J. (2008): BEAM: A Rhetorical Vocabulary for Teaching Research-Based Writing, Rhetoric Review, 27:1, 72-86

17 BIZUP’S CATEGORISATION OF ACADEMIC SOURCES: According to the way they are used, sources can be: Background sources, which you expect your reader to simply trust outright Exhibit sources, primary sources which you analyse to sustain your claims and deal with counter-claims Argument sources, secondary sources of theories, concepts etc. which you affirm, dispute, refine or extend in some way Method sources, which model the methods you use Bizup, J. (2008): BEAM: A Rhetorical Vocabulary for Teaching Research-Based Writing, Rhetoric Review, 27:1, Background sources don’t always need to be acknowledged

18 BIZUP’S CATEGORISATION OF ACADEMIC SOURCES: According to the way they are used, sources can be: Background sources, which you expect your reader to simply trust outright Exhibit sources, primary sources which you analyse to sustain your claims and deal with counter-claims Argument sources, secondary sources of theories, concepts etc. which you affirm, dispute, refine or extend in some way Method sources, which model the methods you use Bizup, J. (2008): BEAM: A Rhetorical Vocabulary for Teaching Research-Based Writing, Rhetoric Review, 27:1, Background sources don’t always need to be acknowledged Exhibit sources are often non- academic, and so difficult to cite correctly

19 BIZUP’S CATEGORISATION OF ACADEMIC SOURCES: According to the way they are used, sources can be: Background sources, which you expect your reader to simply trust outright Exhibit sources, primary sources which you analyse to sustain your claims and deal with counter-claims Argument sources, secondary sources of theories, concepts etc. which you affirm, dispute, refine or extend in some way Method sources, which model the methods you use Bizup, J. (2008): BEAM: A Rhetorical Vocabulary for Teaching Research-Based Writing, Rhetoric Review, 27:1, Background sources don’t always need to be acknowledged Exhibit sources are often non- academic, and so difficult to cite correctly Argument sources are usually academic texts

20 IN THE UK, THE QAA HAS LESS TO SAY ABOUT SOURCE USE THAN CCRA.W …….

21 UK QUALITY CODE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION (2013) ENABLING STUDENT DEVELOPMENT AND ACHIEVEMENT Higher education providers should: consider the ways in which they can enable students to develop their academic potential through the development of appropriate academic skills such as reasoning, research, numeracy, writing and referencing.

22 Assuring Quality for International Students Studying in the UK Regulations and procedures, not skills

23 SO, WHAT ARE INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS MOST LIKELY TO KNOW ABOUT EAW? reporting facts (as in IELTS writing task 1) giving their own opinion, independent of any source (as in IELTS writing task 2) summarising what experts have said (as in TOEFL, PTE Academic test) avoiding plagiarism (from QAA induction advice)

24 AND WHAT ARE INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS LESS LIKELY TO KNOW ABOUT EAW ? How to represent and distinguish between ‘exhibit, ‘argument’ and ‘method’ sources, so that readers recognise their role How to use sources to support their own ‘creative’ expression of opinions and ideas How to carry forward their own arguments and conclusions on the basis of external evidence Hence the following types of problem:

25 PROBLEMS INFLUENCED BY ‘CREATIVE’ EAW TRADITIONS

26 EXPRESSING PERSONAL OPINION TOO PERSUASIVELY “I totally agree that it is necessary for a foreign language learner to learn grammar rules.” “From my point of view, there is no doubt that it is helpful for students to be given grammar information about a foreign language.” Overt expressions of persuasion are more common in journalism (e.g. newspaper editorials) than in academic writing. They are less common in the BAWE corpus than in published academic writing (as measured by MD analysis)

27 THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS PROCESS ENCOURAGES A PERSUASIVE APPROACH The word ‘essay’‘treated as ‘a creative writing piece’ ‘a marketing tool’ possibly starting with ‘a personal anecdote or quote’ Advice from the Fulbright Commission on US essay applications

28 PROBLEMS INFLUENCED BY ‘RESEARCH’ EAW TRADITIONS

29 WRITING LIKE A TEXTBOOK “this can only be brought about with the help of pedagogic intervention: explicit teaching and systematic practice informed by a syllabus of known problems. (For detailed discussion, see Swan 2005.)” Here Swan (2005) is treated as a ‘background ‘source of objective information, rather than as an ‘argument’ source with which to engage.

30 LACK OF CLARITY ABOUT THE ROLE OF THE SOURCE “Munby’s model was not as learner-centred as later models (Long 2005)” In this case it is not clear whether Long (2005) is the source of the claim, or an example of a ‘later model’.

31 MINGLING ONE’S OWN VIEWS WITH THOSE OF THE SOURCE “There are tensions between the types of dictionary users think they should use and the types of dictionary they actually use, and there are also tensions between teacher and learners (Nesi 2012)” In this case I made the point in the first part of the sentence, but not the point in the second part of the sentence. The student writer was hiding her views behind those of the source.

32 In these sorts of cases, writers may consider it too risky to add to the expert source or give their own interpretation of it. Writers to downplay their own contribution because of their experience of the ‘research’ approach to EAW, where the research of others is valued above the views of the student.

33 CHOOSING NOT-QUITE-APPROPRIATE REPORTING VERBS Perhaps due to reluctance to evaluate the source, and lack of linguistic skill to indicate evaluation and stance (positive, negative or neutral).

34 WHAT KIND OF SOURCE-USE EXPERTISE SHOULD INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS BE AIMING FOR, AND WHAT SHOULD WE ASSESS?

35 WE (PROBABLY) ALREADY ASSESS STUDENTS’ KNOWLEDGE OF THE MECHANICS OF CITATION Acknowledgement of sources (to avoid plagiarism) Ability to summarise/paraphrase sources The appropriate use of quotation, integrated into the text or in blocked quotes Recognition of bibliographical information (family name of author, publisher, place of publication etc.) The right amount of bibliographic information in the text and in the references

36 EVIDENCE FROM THE BAWE CORPUS 6,506,995 words 2,896 texts 2,761 assignments 1,953 written by L1 speakers of English 1,251 “distinction” and 1,402 “merit” modules & 300 degree courses Corpus contents Numbers of texts at each level and in each domain

37 DISTRIBUTION OF CITATION TYPES (per million words) AHLSPSSS Integral citations Non-integral citations Vancouver-style

38 DISTRIBUTION OF CITATION TYPES AHLSPSSS Integral citations Non-integral citations Vancouver-style Best suited for ‘argument ‘ sources? Best suited for ‘exhibit’ and ‘method’ sources?

39 DISTRIBUTION OF CITATION TYPES AHLSPSSS Integral citations Non-integral citations Vancouver-style Non-integral citations are the most common

40 DISTRIBUTION OF CITATION TYPES AHLSPSSS Integral citations Non-integral citations Vancouver-style About 82% of references in the physical sciences use the Vancouver numbering style

41 173 DIFFERENT TYPES OF REPORTING VERBS IN INTEGRAL CITATIONS AHLSPSSS suggest (24)find (63)point (out) (4)suggest (71) point (out) 19)state (27)explain (4)argue (59) argue (18)suggest (27)state (4)point (out) 35) state (14)show (20)highlight (2)state (35) write (14)argue (16)suggest (2)find (26) describe (8)cite (14)argue (1)believe (19) say (8)conduct (14)believe (1)indicate (16) use (8)note (13)describe (1)cite (14) claim (7)point (out) 13)emphasize (1)define (14) find (6)claim (12)expand (1)note (14) maintain (6)describe (12)focus (on) (1)explain (12)

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46 AREAS WHICH MIGHT ALSO BE ASSESSED: Awareness of the source role (‘background,’ ‘exhibit’, ‘argument ‘or ‘method’) S Skill with citation formats (integral, non-integral, Vancouver) appropriate to the source role Range and appropriacy of reporting verbs The use ‘exhibit’ and ‘argument’ sources to support the writer’s own propositions, rather than vice versa.

47 IN CONCLUSION Formal tests do not assess many of the source-use skills that students need for discipline-specific study. EAP tutors can assess some of the areas that the formal tests neglect – and raise awareness of the gap between test writing and writing in the disciplines. Above all, students should be able to write ‘content responsible’ texts ( Leki & Carson, 1997), that is, texts related meaningfully and appropriately to ideas and information in academic sources Leki, I & Carson;, J, (1997) Completely different worlds: EAP and the writing experiences of ESL students in university courses. TESOL Quarterly, 31 39–69

48 Thanks for listening!


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