A Chinese doctoral student’s experience of L2 English academic writing in Australia: negotiating practices and identities

Meihui Wang, Graham Parr

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Increasing numbers of international students are choosing to study abroad at English speaking universities, where their L2 English academic writing is assessed alongside local students’ L1 writing. Research has investigated the difficulties these student writers encounter, the deficits in their L2 academic writing products, and the strategies used to address these deficits. However, there has been little investigation into the experiences of L2 student writers of academic texts in particular international contexts, and the identity work associated with negotiating linguistic, cultural and institutional dimensions of these experiences. This narrative-based, qualitative case study addresses this gap in the literature by investigating the L2 English academic writing experiences of one Chinese student in an Australian university over the four years of her PhD candidature. Drawing on Bakhtinian dialogic theories of language and identity, in association with Gee's theorising of identity, the authors show how the challenges experienced by the Chinese student both constrained and facilitated her writing practices. An ongoing process of negotiating tensions in her writer identity mediated these practices, surfacing differing dimensions of the student's bilingual, transcultural, researcher-writer identity. The study offers recommendations for how students, academic supervisors and institutions can support this nuanced process of negotiation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number100944
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of English for Academic Purposes
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


    • Dialogic theory
    • Identity
    • L2 English academic writing
    • Narrative
    • Third space

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