Supporting Education PhD and DEd Students to Become Confident Academic Writers: An Evaluation of Thesis Writers' Circles

Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice, Vol 4, 2007

11 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2012

See all articles by Wendy Larcombe

Wendy Larcombe

University of Melbourne - Law School

Anthony McCosker

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Kieran O'Loughlin

University of Melbourne

Date Written: August 8, 2012

Abstract

This paper critically evaluates the successful pilot of a Thesis Writers’ Circles program offered to Education PhD and DEd students at the University of Melbourne in semester 2, 2005. The analysis focuses on the particular needs of the participating students that were felt to be well-met by this model of support. Broadly, the paper identifies two distinct but inter-related themes: firstly, the challenge of developing writing skills to a level sufficient to meet the demands of preparing a research thesis; secondly, the importance for research higher degree students of building confidence as apprentice academic writers. In relation to the latter theme, the paper identifies the benefits of community participation and peer-collaboration in working towards the aim of consolidating a thesis-writing identity. It is in this capacity, we argue, that thesis writers’ circles have distinct advantages compared with other forms of candidature support, making them a valuable supplement to both conventional supervision practices and generic English language and thesis writing programs. The paper thus affirms the importance not only of equipping international and non-English speaking background (NESB) students with writing tools and strategies, but also of creating opportunities for all postgraduate research students to receive (and offer) non-judgmental feedback on work-in-progress within a discipline-specific learning and discourse community.

Keywords: academic writing, PhD thesis writing, international students, writers’ circules

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Larcombe, Wendy and McCosker, Anthony and O'Loughlin, Kieran, Supporting Education PhD and DEd Students to Become Confident Academic Writers: An Evaluation of Thesis Writers' Circles (August 8, 2012). Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice, Vol 4, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2126912

Wendy Larcombe (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

Anthony McCosker

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Kieran O'Loughlin

University of Melbourne ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053
Australia

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