A study of the rhetorical features and the argument structure of EAP essays by L1 & L2 students
The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
The purpose of this study was to identify the differences between L1 and L2 English students’ argumentative essays in terms of the rhetorical features and the argument structure. The study also aimed at exploring the current lecturers’ practices in argumentative writing classes. The last objective of the study was to explore the students’ attitudes, wants and needs in argumentative writing classes. The context of the study is a higher education institution in the UAE. The literature reveals that many studies focused on argumentative writing, but no study was found to focus on the rhetorical features and the argument structure of L2 students’ writers. The design of the study depends on mixed methods research. The study was conducted in two stages: a quantitative stage, then a qualitative stage. The quantitative data came from a comparison between L2 students’ argumentative essays and L1 students’ essays from the LOCNESS corpus for native students’ essays. More quantitative data were also extracted from the lecturers’ and the students’ surveys. The source of the qualitative data was the open-ended questions in the lecturers’ and the students’ surveys, the interviews with the lecturers, and the classroom observations. The sample size was comprised of 372 students and 49 lecturers for surveys, while three classes were observed, and five lecturers were interviewed by the researcher. In general, the analysis revealed differences in L1 and L2 students’ essays and reflected good lecturers’ practices in argumentative writing classes. However, students seemed to be intimidated by writing classes, and they needed more rhetoric knowledge. The study aimed at identifying the differences in the rhetorical features and the argument structure in L1 and L2 students’ writers and the differences were identified and analyzed. Another aim was to explore the current lecturers’ practices, and the findings reflected a high standard of teaching practices. The last aim was to explore the students’ attitudes, wants and needs in argumentative writing classes and the perceptions along with the needs were identified. The study concluded with some recommendations for lecturers’ professional development and future research.
Composition (Language arts)., English language -- Composition and exercises., English students’, teaching practices