Symposium on Second Language Writing

Constructing Knowlege

ABSTRACTS


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Abstracts

| Dwight Atkinson | Linda Lonon Blanton | Colleen Brice |
| Christine Pearson Casanave | Dana Ferris | John Flowerdew |
| Richard Haswell | Sarah Hudelson | Ken Hyland |
| Xiaoming Li
| Rosa Manchon | Paul Kei Matsuda |
| Susan Parks | Miyuki Sasaki | Tony Silva | Bob Weissberg |

Situated Qualitative Research and Second Language Writing
Dwight Atkinson, Temple University Japan

This presentation focuses on the study of L2 writing via qualitative research (QR) on particular social scenes. First, I argue for the role of QR methodologies in getting up-close looks at what L2 writers do, how they do it, and how they think about what they do. Second, I focus on potential problems encountered while undertaking situated QR. I present video clips of interviews conducted in the course of a recent QR project, showing how what from one point of view can be seen as weaknesses and flaws can from another be seen as strengths and positives.

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Mucking Around in the Lives of Others:
Reflections on Doing Qualitative Research

Linda Lonon Blanton, University of New Orleans, USA

Although qualitative research offers ways of knowing not available to researchers using other approaches, it provides little to no buffer between researcher and subject inherent in quantitative work. When seeking to understand phenomena through people’s stories--narratives, interviews, and autobiography--a qualitative researcher is out there, mucking around in the lives of others. This potentially dark side of qualitative research became wrenchingly clear to me during the course of a year-long project, just ended. A discussion of the project and the thorny issues it raises form the core of the presentation.

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Coding Data in Qualitative Research on L2 Writing:
Issues and Implications

Colleen Brice, Southern Illinois University, USA

In this presentation I reflect on the processes I engaged in to code data in a case study of ESL writers' reactions to teacher feedback. I chronicle the process by which I developed and revised a coding instrument to analyze interview transcripts, discussing the epistemological and methodological assumptions that guided my work, the problems I encountered, and the manner in which I dealt with these problems. I suggest that this self-examination raises questions about the applicability of current goodness criteria for qualitative research as formulated within the interpretivist, constructivist paradigm, and I consider the implications of this for qualitative research methodology and reporting in L2 composition.

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Uses of Narrative in L2 Writing Research
Christine Pearson Casanave, Keio University, Japan

In this paper I explore narrative in L2 writing research from several perspectives. Beginning with a conceptual background in which I discuss how narrative constructs meaning in otherwise fragmented lives, I then examine narrative from five angles: metadisciplinary narratives (or how we construct the stories of our field); research reports as narratives; narrative inquiry as a research method; narratives as data; and pedagogical narratives (our stories of teaching and learning). I conclude by suggesting that narrative approaches can help break down narrow stereotypes of what L2 writing research consists of and thus contribute to an expanded understanding of L2 writing and writers.

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Anatomy of L2 Writing Research:
From Problem to Process to Publication

Dana Ferris, California State University, Sacramento, USA

This presentation will focus on the nuts-and-bolts of L2 writing research projects: Identifying & narrowing research questions, selecting appropriate paradigms for analysis, obtaining funding and other assistance, and disseminating findings. The presenter will use examples from her own experience as a teacher-researcher to argue that it is not only critical for an L2 writing research agenda to move forward, it is also possible, even with limited resources.

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Writing for Scholarly Publication in English:
A Multidimensional Study

John Flowerdew, City University of Hong Kong, China

This paper provides an account of a research project which studied Hong Kong academics and their writing for publication in international journals. By means of a large scale questionnaire survey, interviews with writers and journal editors, case studies of individual writers as they go through the writing and submission process, and textual analysis, the study highlighted the problems and successful strategies adopted by Hong Kong scholarly writers.

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Researching Teacher Evaluation of Second-Language Writing Via Prototype Theory
Richard Haswell, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, USA

Prototype categorization theory has been helpful in understanding how a second language is acquired (e.g., John R. Taylor, 1995; Lynne Cameron, 1994), but prototype theory has been little applied to the way L2 writing is evaluated. The potential of prototype approaches to the problem of writing teachers and their diagnostic ways with L2 writing is explored through an experiment that used teachers with ESL, bilingual, or L1 expertise responding along a number of rhetorical dimensions to a Korean ESL college-freshman writer. The findings show that prototype analysis may uncover evaluative practices missed by past inquiry following holistic or analytical lines.

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Taking on English Writing in a Bilingual Program:
Revisiting, Reexamining, Reconceptualizing the Data

Sarah Hudelson, Arizona State University, USA

Several years ago a colleague and I conducted three year longitudinal case studies to investigate the writing development of Spanish speaking first through third graders in a Spanish-English bilingual program. In this talk I will revisit the study in order to examine how our research questions changed over time and the strengths and limitations of our data collection and analysis. I will also critique the cognitive/constructivist framework that influenced the analyses undertaken and consider how alternative frameworks might provide other lenses through which to view the case study children's second language writing development.

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Digging Up Texts and Transcripts:
Confessions of a Discourse Analyst

Ken Hyland, City University of Hong Kong

Discourse analysis, the study of situated language use, brings together interaction and language in a single concept and reminds us that writing involves writers making choices in social contexts peopled by purposes, readers, prior experiences and other texts. This paper is a reflection on one way of doing discourse analysis by an applied linguist. It describes how corpus and interview data, informed by an interactionist perspective, were used to investigate how Hong Kong undergraduate’s representations of themselves in undergraduate dissertations were shaped by their experiences and perceptions of academic writing in English.

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Composing Culture in a Fragmented World:
The issue of Representation in Cross-Cultural Research
in the Post-Modern Era

Xiaoming Li, Long Island University, USA

Theories of post-structuralism and post-modernism have heightened our awareness of the opaqueness of truth as the boundaries between perception and reality are blurred, the rhetorical and socially constructed nature of knowledge revealed, and categories of representation as basic as race, gender and culture questioned. How, as we are mired in what Jane Hopkins calls the “epistemological quandary,” do we pursue cross-cultural studies without essentializing the culture and people we endeavor to represent? I will discuss the issue of representation, which I started contemplating when working on “Good Writing” in Cross-Cultural Context and continued to the recent project in Writing and Learning in Cross-National Perspective.

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Using Concurrent Protocols to Explore L2 Writing Processes:
Methodological Issues in the Collection, Analysis and
Interpretation of Data

Rosa M. Manchon, University of Murcia, Spain
(in collaboration with Julio Roca de Larios and Liz Murphy)

In my presentation I will reflect on the inquiry process followed in a research project on L2 writing processes initiated in 1995 and still in progress, with a focus on the most important problems faced and the rationale behind the decisions adopted by the research team regarding the collection, analysis and interpretation of think-aloud data. Special attention will be paid to the difficulties experienced in setting up a theoretically grounded coding scheme of writing processes. These issues will be analyzed in relation to some of the studies carried out within the research project.

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A Story of One's Own:
Historical Inquiry in Second Language Writing

Paul Kei Matsuda, University of New Hampshire, USA

In this presentation, I will discuss the nature of historical inquiry and its status in the field of second language writing. I will begin by exploring various types of historical inquiry and the evolution of historical consciousness both in relation to composition studies and second language studies. I will then reflect on the process of historical inquiry that resulted in my 1999 article on the disciplinary division of labor between composition studies and second language studies.

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Stranger in a Strange Land:
Investigating Documentation Practices in a Medical Setting

Susan Parks, Universite Laval, Quebec, Canada
(in collaboration with Diane Huot, Josiane Hamers, France H.-Lemonnier)

To date, relatively few studies have attempted to document how non-native speakers appropriate written genres in specific workplace settings. Drawing on her research of how Francophone nurses were socialized into the documentation practices within an English-medium hospital in Montreal (Quebec, Canada), the presenter will reflect on issues related to the qualitative design paradigm within which the project was framed. Amongst these issues, particular attention will be given to the construct of grounded theory and researcher stance.

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Hypothesis Generation and Hypothesis Testing:
Two Complementary Studies of EFL Writing Processes
Miyuki Sasaki, Nagoya Gakuin University, Japan

In this paper, I reflect on my inquiry processes for a hypothesis-generating study (Sasaki, 2000) and a hypothesis-testing study (Sasaki, 2002) of Japanese EFL learners' writing processes using multiple data sources, including their video-taped writing behaviors and stimulated recall protocols. In Sasaki (2000), I explored as many aspects as possible of the participants' writing behaviors that seemed important for building an empirical model of their writing processes. The results made it possible to formulate eight hypotheses, which I then statistically tested in Sasaki (2002) using relatively large sample sizes for the two groups (experts and novices) of participants.

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On the Philosophical Bases of Inquiry
in Second Language Writing

Tony Silva, Purdue University, USA

The purpose of this talk will be to address the philosophical underpinnings of inquiry into second language writing in order to provide concepts and terminology that may be useful for discussion of the presentations that will follow. Foci will include ideology and its elements (ontology, epistemology, and methodology); inquiry paradigms (positivist, critical rationalist, and relativist); inquiry methods (hermeneutic and empirical); empirical designs (qualitative and quantitative); the notion of multimodal inquiry; and the relevance of postmodern thought for inquiry into second language writing and writing instruction.

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What Cross-Modality Studies (Don’t) Tell Us About L2 Writing
Bob Weissberg, New Mexico State University, USA, and
Universitäî°œt Erfurt, Germany

This paper assesses the contributions of cross-modality research (research into speaking/writing connections) to the understanding of L2 writing processes and products. A survey of the various research strands within this area is followed by a critique of the methods used in and the theoretical assumptions underlying such studies. A lack of coherence among published cross-modality studies is noted and attributed to the lack of a general theory of L2 oracy/literacy development. The potential benefits of adopting a socio-cultural (Vygotskian) stance in cross-modality L2 writing research are examined. Two of the author’s studies are used by way of illustration.

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Journal of Second Language Writing
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