CAES Seminar: Novices’ Textual Borrowing in Scientific Writing:What Supervisors Think and How They Eliminate it in Redrafting
By Dr. Yongyan Li
Faculty of Education, the University of Hong Kong
Date: 18th April 2012 (Wednesday)
English as an additional language (EAL) students’ textual borrowing in disciplinary writing has been widely discussed among English for Academic Purposes (EAP) instructors. Novices’ textual borrowing, or text-based plagiarism, in scientific writing in particular, typically takes the form of copying or patchwriting sentences in a row from sources. As novice EAL scientists (such as doctoral students) increasingly participate in the writing for publication process, text-based plagiarism has sometimes made its way into submissions and even published texts, and as a result, raised journal editors’ concern. Understanding what perspectives subject professors take upon novices’ textual borrowing and how they eliminate it when redrafting a novice text for publication is necessary, as it will provide insights to inform the EAP pedagogy aimed at teaching proper practices of writing from sources. In this seminar I will report some findings from my recent research on some disciplinary supervisors’ stance on the issue of textual borrowing. In particular, a case study with a biochemistry professor reveals that the expert writer had complete tolerance for his students’ copying and that his elimination of it during redrafting was guided by his genre expertise and rhetorical skills for publishing. Although the research was conducted at a university in mainland China, the seminar will end with a discussion of the implications of the findings for EAP instruction in the context of Hong Kong.
About the speaker:
Yongyan Li received her education and taught in mainland China until 2003 when she moved to Hong Kong for further studies. In recent years she has been studying issues related to the academic writing of students who use English as an Additional Language (EAL) as well as EAL scholars writing for publication. She is currently teaching at the Faculty of Education of the University of Hong Kong.
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