A mixed methods study of issues encountered by Saudi EFL students in English academic writing

Hakami, Adeeb Qassim

April 2019

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© 2019 Adeeb Qassim Hakami. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Proficiency in English language skills is very important for university students to be able to learn and succeed in academic studies. Writing skills are one of the most difficult in learning the English language. It is a difficult skill for native speakers of the English language yet the difficulties are greater for learners of English as a foreign language.

This thesis aims to explore the issues encountered by Saudi EFL students in academic writing. It covers and involves all the different educational aspects such as learners’ study skills, teaching methods, curricula, teaching practices, and contextual issues that EFL students face in academic writing based on the students’ voices and opinions. The study aims to identify which educational aspects are responsible as issues that face Saudi EFL students in academic writing whether singly or in combination.

A sequential exploratory mixed method research design consisting of two phases was employed. The initial phase was a qualitative study followed by a second subsequent quantitative phase which carried the greater emphasis in this research. The data collection took place during the 2016 – 2017 academic year. Interviews were used for the qualitative data and a questionnaire survey was designed for quantitative data. The participants of the study involved 372 EFL students specialising in English studies in the department of foreign languages at Taif University in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

A factor analysis revealed that there were five main factors Saudi EFL students encountered in academic writing. The first and most important factor was the inappropriate English writing textbooks and curriculum. The English writing textbooks employed at the department are difficult for students, with a gap perceived between English writing textbooks used in the foundation year and those studied in the foreign languages department. The second factor was writing anxiety. The third factor was teaching methods and practices. The fourth factor focused on contextual issues including class size, and the final factor was English writing proficiency.

School of Education and Social Sciences, The University of Hull
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