Acquiring disciplinary literacy

a social-cognitive analysis of text production and learning among Iranian graduate students of education

Abdolmehdi Riazi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Citations (Scopus)


The problem addressed by this study was: how do non-native speakers of English acquire domain-specific literacy suitable to their academic discipline in a graduate program? The participants were four (one female and three male) Iranian doctoral students of education in their second year of residency. To investigate the problem, I used a naturalistic qualitative approach, collecting data from four participants through questionnaires, interviews (structured, unstructured, and text-based), written documents (texts produced by the participants, their professors' feedback on the papers, and course outlines), and process logs. I followed the participants through their graduate seminars over a period of five months as they were preparing for and performing assigned academic writing tasks in their second language (L2), English. Weekly face-to-face interviews focusing on participants' behaviours, decisions, and concerns were the central data gathering method for the study. This study adds to the literature that suggests that achieving disciplinary literacy in an L2 in a graduate program such as education is fundamentally an interactive social-cognitive process in that production of the texts required extensive interaction between the individual's cognitive processes and social/contextual factors in different ways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-137
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Second Language Writing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1997
Externally publishedYes

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