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Title: Transitivity shifts in academic writing
Authors: Lu, Angelia
Issue Date: 2012
Citation: Lu, A. (2012). Transitivity shifts in academic writing. Asian EFL Journal, 103, 129.
Abstract: This is an experimental non-equivalent designs study, comparing four groups of ESL students who have drafted a scientific essay. The main research question of this study is whether there is an observable difference in clause types as students progressed from draft to draft. T-tests and the one way ANOVA were used to test if there was a significant difference in clausal change between the groups. Results are as follows: (a) The group who had peer feedback before teacher and verbal feedback became statistically more inclined than other groups to add material processes (i.e., clauses that include action verbs) to improve scientific aspects; (b) Effect sizes are moderately significant for the rise in material processes observed in this same group, compared with other groups who either had teacher feedback first or administered self-feedback. The results hint that the ESL students could be more vigilant in improving material clauses than relational clauses in scientific expository essays. This has important pedagogical implications that students may choose to place a greater focus on improving scientific aspects rather than expository aspects of an essay entitled "Should genetic modification be approved?"
Description: This is the original draft, prior to peer review, of a manuscript published in Asian EFL Journal. The published version is available online at
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