Item Details

Reframing graduate student writing strategies from an Activity Theory perspective

Issue: Vol 2 No. 1 (2015)

Journal: Language and Sociocultural Theory

Subject Areas: Writing and Composition Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/lst.v2i1.24977


This study adopts a sociocultural approach, more specifically, an Activity Theory (Leont'ev, 1978, 1981; Engestrȍm, 1987, 1999) framework, to explore an international graduate student’s use of writing strategies. Using a case study design, we investigate how an MA student from Nepal learns to write academic papers that meet the academic norms of a US graduate school. Through the analysis of course materials, the participant’s written work, stimulated recall, and interview, we examine what strategies the participant used, and how she developed them over her first semester in graduate school. Findings indicate that the participant used various tool-mediated, rule-mediated, and community-mediated strategies. Her mediated actions were driven by her goals and motives that were understood within her social and cultural environments, and interacted with each other in a dynamic and constructive manner. In addition, contradictions between the strategies used by the participant and between the participant and the contextual factors were found; these contradictions, in turn, acted as sources of the development and the change of her writing activity.

Author: Ji-Hyun Park, Peter De Costa

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