Novice Writers in Asian Academia: Insights on Writing Issues

Hui Min Low, Phoon Hooi San, Yusof Petras, Abdul Rashid Mohamad


Many beginning researchers are encouraged to write and publish for the benefit of their careers. However, not many have yet attained to publish at the levels of top-tier journals. Previous research on the writing outputs of ESL researchers provided evidence that the organization of writing is among the major weaknesses which hinders this group of researchers. This paper aims to scrutinize the aspects of writing issues related to the research reports produced by beginning writers. Our investigation took place via content analysis of a database of manuscripts obtained from 23 postgraduate students, reviewed by two experienced guest editors. The editorial remarks were analyzed and summarized using an analytical framework which observes five different aspects of manuscript quality. The findings indicated that many writers in this study lack awareness about research and research writing. The lack of this technical knowledge severely impacts the conceptualization of their written outputs. Consequently, they could not achieve the expected appropriateness in the construction of their writing in terms of justification, clarity and coherence issues of their texts. A better understanding of the issues involved would facilitate the identification of suitable strategies to help these beginning writers and potentially others to overcome their obstacles in writing. 

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