The Development of Use of Reporting Verbs in Academic Writing: A Case Study with Two Chinese Students

| April 12, 2014

March 2014

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Xie Nanyue


In view of the complexity of reporting and the central role it plays in academic writing, the present study focuses on the most clear signal of reporting, i.e., reporting verbs. Specifically, a case study was carried out with two Chinese students during their studies at the University of Exeter in the UK with the aim to investigate their development of use of reporting verbs in essay writing over the course of one academic year.

The study follows the interpretive paradigm. Multiple data sources included a corpus of six assignments (three from each student), semi-structured interviews with the students, and questionnaires for a panel of two experts to judge on the level of appropriacy.

Findings of the study indicated that the two Chinese students showed no sign of improvement over time in terms of the appropriate use of reporting verbs. In addition, the evaluative aspect of these rhetorical devices was not yet made clear to them. Some implications for the teaching and learning of reporting verbs have arisen from the interpretation of findings.

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Category: Thesis