AN ACADEMIC WRITING NEEDS ANALYSIS OF CZECH UNIVERSITY GRADUATE STUDENTS

Renata Jančaříková, Renata Povolná, Olga Dontcheva-Navratilová, Světlana Hanušová, Martin Němec

Abstract

The present paper presents the results of a needs analysis conducted among Czech students involved in a Master’s degree programme English Language Teacher Education. The aim was to identify their academic writing needs on the basis of a needs analysis questionnaire and a linguistic analysis of their written discourse in order to find out whether there are divergences between their ‘wants’ and ‘lacks’ (Hutchinson & Waters 1987). The results indicate that the students’ previous tuition at Bachelor’s level focused primarily on lexico-grammatical features of academic style such as text organizing devices, academic vocabulary, grammatical structures and citation styles. However, other areas essential to writing a successful Master’s thesis, such as evaluation and interpretation of results, conveying personal viewpoints and communicating with the reader or acknowledging research limitations, were ascribed a somewhat lower importance by the students, suggesting the existence of a divergence between the students’ ‘wants’ and ‘lacks’. The findings concerning the students’ perception of the writing process also concur with the finding of the authors’ previous research (Dontcheva et al. 2020) into the Theme zone in Czech students’ Master’s theses, which has indicated that Czech Master’s students tend to
overuse textual Themes expressed by linkers and underuse interpersonal Themes realised by stance devices.

Keywords

needs analysis; academic writing; EAP; thesis writing; questionnaire; Theme zone; Master’s thesis

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