The development of source use by international postgraduate students
Published on Jun 1, 2013in Journal of English for Academic Purposes1.73
· DOI :10.1016/j.jeap.2012.11.008
Abstract It is widely accepted that learning to use sources is difficult, especially for international postgraduate students, but to date, few longitudinal studies have been carried out in this area. Therefore, this two-year UK-based study aims to help fill this gap by examining the source use of three Chinese postgraduate students of business, technology and public relations. Data was gathered over four iterations through a Pre-Master's EAP programme and subsequent Master's degree, in order to investigate the development of source use on both EAP and Master's programmes. Four features of source use in the assignments – citation, paraphrasing, reporting verbs and attribution – were analysed over the period. Analysis of the results shows that participants started at different points, progressed differently, and did not all reach a competent level. Participants also developed some individual strategies in their source use, such as relying on a small range of features, over-citation and copying sections of attributed text, especially internet sources. The findings offer an insight into student practices and suggest the need for greater and more continuous pedagogical support to enable students to achieve competence in source use.