Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Writing tutorial interactions with international graduate students: An empirical investigation
by Reinking, Laurel Denise, Ph.D., Purdue University, 2012, 290; 3556577
Abstract (Summary)

My research, situated in writing centers, focuses on oral response to L2 writing. I used conversation analysis (CA) to describe and analyze 23 video-recorded interactions between graduate-student tutors and graduate-student L2 tutees. Analyses focused on the sequential nature of talk-in-interaction and the strategies used by interactants to initiate, continue, and repair interactions.

Analyzed descriptions are provided of the structure and function of three of the four components of tutorials—the opening, agenda-setting, and closing components. Opening components include (minimally) summons and responses. Additionally, they may include greetings, introductions, identity checks, invitations to begin the tutorial, small talk, and institutional business. Agenda setting components typically include determining the what, the priority, and the how of the agenda and may also include institutional business. Finally, closing components may begin with possible pre-closings such as assessments, time checks, and "anything else?" questions. Closing components must include a terminal sequence; however, they may also include summaries, prescriptions, appreciations, and institutional business.

Analyses reveal tensions caused by inequalities or perceived inequalities in epistemic authority and interactants orientation to those inequalities. Discussion explores what it means to be an international student with sufficient educational capital to be accepted into a program at a research university in the U.S. but still struggle without the "new" educational capital required. Analyses also reveal that writing center tutors need more effective training. In particular, tutors should spend the first few minutes learning about the tutee and informing the tutee about the writing center tutorial.

Future research should focus on tutorials in a variety of institutions of higher learning with participants including both L1 and L2 undergraduate, graduate, and adjunct-faculty tutors and tutees. Differences and similarities among immigrants, international students, and other L2 participants (both tutees and tutors) must be examined. More comparisons also need to be made about first time and returning tutees including the schemas they have or have not developed and their expectations for the tutorial. Finally, we need to know more about how the genre of the text affects the trajectory and outcome of the tutorial.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Silva, Tony
Commitee: Bergmann, Linda, Blythe, Stuart, Roberts, Felicia
School: Purdue University
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 74/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Bilingual education, Communication, Language
Keywords: Conversation analysis, International graduate students, Second language writers, Talk-in-interaction, Tutorials, Writing centers
Publication Number: 3556577
ISBN: 978-1-267-98765-5
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