Losing and finding coherence in academic writing

Jeremy Jones

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    universities typically attract a very diverse enrolment. Students are of different ages and cultural, linguistic and educational backgrounds. In the case presented here, there is a further complexity. Most students have a history of poor performance, even failure, in their subjects, clearly as a result of their poor command of the written language and in particular the great difficulties they have with the genres of academic writing. A single overwhelming challenge confronts the majority of these students: an inability to construct a coherent argument in response to a given question. An analysis of samples of students’ writing reveals two interesting results: that native and non-native English-speaking students were sometimes indistinguishable in their quality of writing, and both groups tended to suffer from a loss of coherence in argument. This paper probes the nature of noncoherence in these students’ writing, suggests reasons for it and proposes some remedies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)125-148
    Number of pages24
    JournalUniversity of Sydney Papers in T E S O L
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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