Researching academic writing

We welcomed Dr Sara Cotterall as an Adjunct Associate Professor in February 2017. Sara has had a long-standing association with the School, and here shares a little of her current research interests.

For much of my career, academic writing has been at the centre of my teaching and research. However since 2005, I have developed a particular interest in the writing that doctoral candidates do. While more of my teaching in the United Arab Emirates involved undergraduate than graduate writing, I continue to follow two excellent research/doctoral writing blogs and remain passionately committed to researching the politics and practice of doctoral candidates’ writing experiences.

I have recently begun a research collaboration with two young doctoral candidates, one in New Zealand and one in the Caribbean, both of whom use English as an Additional Language (EAL). We are currently investigating the writing pedagogies and experiences they have been exposed to during their doctoral candidatures and the strategies they have adopted to manage the writing demands of their doctoral projects. Given our different locations and time zones, our discussions take place in the context of a Google Doc in which we each pose and respond to questions and consider issues and strategies reported in doctoral writing literature.

We plan to present our preliminary findings at the Asia-Pacific LSP and Professional Association Conference at Victoria University this April, and in a journal article later this year.

John Macalister

John Macalister’s research interests include second language reading and writing, issues in language learning and New Zealand English. He teaches courses in language teaching methodology (reading and writing), and curriculum design.

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