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ERIC Number: EJ1134669
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1675-8110
Basic and Advanced Skills They Don't Have: The Case of Postgraduates and Literature Review Writing
Hei, Kuang Ching; David, Maya Khemlani
Malaysian Journal of Learning and Instruction, v12 p131-150 2015
Purpose: This paper aims to identify the difficulties postgraduate students face in writing the literature review for their thesis and dissertation. Methodology: Seventy postgraduate students from 9 faculties in one public university in the Klang Valley consented to participating in this study. They were 49 Masters candidates and 21 doctoral (PhD) candidates attending a workshop on academic writing. Among them, 31 were Malaysians and 39 were foreigners with the majority being Arabs and Africans. After an icebreaking session, participants were asked what their writing difficulties are when doing their literature review. They were told to write their responses in English in a paper. A linguistic analysis was then applied to the written phrases and expressions which denote their difficulties. These were then categorised under common themes and manually counted in terms of the frequency. Findings: A total of 37 categories of difficulties were detected. They encompassed basic and advanced skills in reading and writing including "not knowing what to read", "how to read", "how to start writing", "organising", "doing a critical analysis", "summarising" and "synthesising". Significance: The findings imply that most of the participants do not possess the necessary skills of reading and writing which are required in most postgraduate programmes. Thus, it is imperative that institutions of higher learning develop stricter criteria for student selection. Alternatively, a programme providing support in reading and writing may enable these postgraduate students to raise their level before being admitted. This kind of support can help to mitigate the burden imposed on supervisors as well as develop better quality postgraduate students.
Universiti Utara Malaysia Press. UUM Press, Universiti Utara Malaysia, 08010 UUM Sintok, Kedah, Malaysia. Tel: +60-4-928-4816; Fax: +60-4-928-4792; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Malaysia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A