An Investigation of Theoretical and Conceptual Developments in the Field of Second Language Writing

Veronika Maliborska, Purdue University


In recent years, the field of second language writing (SLW) has come into close contact with other fields from second language studies (SLS), and in particular with second language acquisition (SLA). Discussions of the possible connections between SLW and SLA have largely focused on how theories or concepts the SLA field could be used to examine and provide answers to a number of research questions in SLW. Such attempts are based on discussions of what gaps in SLW research need to be filled, mainly with further pedagogical applications. However, there has been little attention devoted to the overall theoretical and conceptual development of SLW as a field of study and its connections with other fields of study have mostly been ignored, resulting in a lack of considerations regarding how new and convergent research directions inform the field at large (e.g. Silva, 1990; Belcher, 1997; Matsuda, 1999; Ferris & Hedgcock, 2004). Therefore, this dissertation is an attempt to come to a better understanding of the conceptual and theoretical development of SLW studies over a period of 30 years using research publications as a source of data. A mixed-method design was developed to collect and analyze a dataset of publications published between 1981 and 2010. The results showed an increasing use of theoretical concepts in research publications over time and several trends in conceptualizing writing in light of the used theories.




Silva, Purdue University.

Subject Area

English as a Second Language

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