Key writing challenges of practice-based doctorates

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Journal Article
Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 2007, 6 (1), pp. 71 - 86
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Building on the increasing interest within English for Academic Purposes (EAP) in postgraduate literacy development, this article examines the complexities of writing research at the academic/professional interface. It analyses two literature reviews by professional doctorate students at an Australian university who were writing research in their first language, English, about issues arising from their areas of professional practice. One of the student texts received a mostly negative evaluation from the disciplinary marker while the other received a mostly positive evaluation. Our analysis of the two texts identifies some key challenges of writing practice-based research, namely, framing a real-world problem as a research issue; incorporating one s own (and others ) professional knowledge; and using the literature to contextualise and theorise the issue under investigation. We propose that EAP-style pedagogies involving guided analysis of issues like these within research texts may benefit not only students writing in an L2 but also those struggling to write in their L1, and that more nuanced understandings of the textual expectations of practice-based research are needed so that student writers can learn to produce knowledge that will count within the academy.
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