The role of writing centre in enhancing the quality of students' academic writing at a university of technology

Sefalane-Nkohla, Puleng Gladys (2019-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : The role of a writing centre in enhancing the quality of students’ academic writing at a university of technology is a research study that determined students’ perceptions about a writing centre, as one form of academic literacy support amongst a suite of academic development and support programmes designed to assist students to acquire epistemological access. The study was based at the Writing Centre of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). Research participants were drawn from students registered in various faculties, and in varying levels of academic study i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd and fourth-year (B-Tech) level study. They came from diverse linguistic, cultural, social and economic backgrounds. A significant qualification criterion for student participants was that they must have been exposed to, or experienced the services offered by the Writing Centre either through a oneon-one form of academic consultation, or through an academic literacy workshop. The empirical methods employed to gather data for this mixed methods study involved a survey in the form of a questionnaire that collected quantitative data, and a qualitative component which employed content analysis of 20 students’ academic essays chosen using the above criteria. Overall, the findings from the quantitative study revealed overwhelmingly positive perceptions of students about the services offered by the Writing Centre, including perceptions about their own academic writing capabilities. However, these findings were not consistent with the findings emanating from the qualitative content analysis of students’ academic essays. Content analysis revealed, among other things, lexico-grammatical errors pointing to a lack of conceptualisation by student participants of the academic task at hand; lack of presence in text; macro-structural issues (introductions, conclusions, paragraphing, etc.), and micro-structural issues (arrangement of sentences, language usage, grammatical errors and plagiarism, etc.). The findings also highlighted issues identified by student participants for improvement such as the need for the employment of additional consultants, and student participants’ desire for additional services such as editing and proofreading to be added to the services currently offered by the Writing Centre.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die rol van ‘n skryfsentrum in die verbetering van die gehalte van studente se akademiese skryfwerk by ‘n universiteit van tegnologie is ‘n navorsingstudie wat ten doel gehad het om studente se persepsies oor ‘n skryfsentrum, as een vorm van akademiese geletterheidsondersteuning binne ’n suite van akademiese ontwikkelings- en ondersteuningsprogramme wat ontwerp is om studente se epistemologiese toeganklikheid te ondersteun, te ondersoek. Die studie is gedoen by die Skryfsentrum van die Kaap Peninsula Universiteit van Tegnologie (KPUT). Deelnemers aan die navorsing is gewerf uit studente wat in verskeie fakulteite en in verskillende jaargange van akademiese studie, maw 1ste, 2de, 3de en 4de jaar (B.Tech) geregistreer is. Hulle kom uit diverse linguistiese, kulturele, sosiale en ekonomiese agtergronde. ‘n Belangrike oorweging vir deelname aan die studie was dat studente blootgestel moes gewees het of ervaring gehad het van die dienste wat deur die Skryfsentrum gelewer word, hetsy deur ‘n een-tot-een vorm van akademiese konsultasie, of deur ‘n akademiese geletterdheidswerkswinkel. Die empiriese metodes wat gebruik is om data vir hierdie gemengde metode-studie te versamel het ‘n opname in die vorm van ‘n vraelys wat kwantitatiewe data ingesamel het, en ‘n kwalitatiewe komponent wat inhoudsanalise van 20 studente se akademiese werkstukke wat op grond van bogenoemde kriteria gekies is, ingesluit. Oorhoofs beskou het die resultate van die kwantitatiewe studie oorweldigend positiewe persepsies van students oor die dienste wat deur die Skryfsentrum gelewer word opgelewer, insluitend persepsies oor hulle eie akademiese skryfvermoëns. Hierdie resultate het egter nie gerym met die bevindinge van die kwalitatiewe inhoudsanalise van studente se akademiese werkstukke nie. Inhoudsanalise het, onder andere, leksikogrammatikale foute wat dui op ‘n gebrek aan konseptualisering van die akademiese werkopdrag deur studentedeelnemers; ‘n afwesigheid van ‘n ‘eie stem’ in die teks; makrostrukturele kwessies (inleiding, slot, paragrawe, ens) en mikro-strukturele kwessies (plasing van sinne, taalgebruik, grammatikale foute en plagiaat, ens) uitgewys. Die bevindings het ook kwessies geïdentifiseer wat studente van mening was verbetering benodig soos die behoefte aan die aanstelling van addisionele konsultante, en studente se behoefte dat addisionele dienste soos redigering en proeflees toegevoeg word tot die dienste wat tans deur die Skryfsentrum aangebied word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105929
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