From postgraduate student to published writer
: discourse variation and development in TESOL

  • Susan M. Wharton

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis is part of a project whose overall aim is to assist participants on an MSc TESOL course who wish to begin to publish articles in the field to do so. The project, which is undertaken within a naturalistic paradigm, has two intimately related and mutually constitutive strands: one descriptive, one interventionist. The descriptive strand consists of an analytical model of the TESOL article genre, and it is instantiated in this thesis. The interventionist strand consists of a series of pedagogic interactions and materials intended to assist project participants formulate a text suitable for publication within the target genre, and it is reported on in this thesis. I begin the thesis by looking in detail at the research approach which characterises the project. I then attempt to explain the situational context of the work and to position it within the context of other research in the areas of discourse community membership, academic genres, genre learning and academic enculturation. Having thus contextualised the work, I next attempt a detailed exploration of the problems of postgraduate students in TESOL when first attempting to write in the TESOL article genre: this exploration is undertaken from both a linguistic and a pedagogic perspective. Then in subsequent chapters, both a linguistic and a pedagogic response to these problems are proposed: the first consisting of an analytical model of the target genre, the second consisting of a series of pedagogic interactions and materials. The relationships between the two lines of response are also examined in some detail. Then in the final part of the thesis, I report feedback from the interventionist strand and attempt to conduct an evaluation of the whole project to date. Criteria for evaluation are proposed and examined in some detail in the context of the research approach of the project. The concluding chapter is a brief discussion of future directions for this work.
Date of Award1999
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJulian Edge (Supervisor)


  • postgraduate student
  • published writer
  • discourse variation
  • development in TESOL

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