Challenges in academic writing: Perspectives of Engineering faculty and L2 postgraduate research students

Hua Fang Lin (Corresponding Author), Bruce James Morrison

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates the academic writing challenges encountered by L2 postgraduate students in Engineering and the strategies they developed (or, from the perspective of faculty, should develop) to address these issues. Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative data gathered from 82 graduate students and 24 faculty in Engineering in three universities in Hong Kong, the study revealed similarities and differences related to topics previously identified in the literature. The study identified major differences between students and faculty regarding academic writing challenges. The primary concern of most L2 graduate students was challenges at the sentence level (i.e. local language features), whereas that of most faculty was challenges at the discourse level (i.e. global language features). The study also revealed that some student strategies for managing academic writing challenges (e.g. employing Google Translate) do not fully meet faculty expectations. These findings have significant pedagogical implications, for example, the need for providing appropriate writing models and writing interventions for L2 graduate students in Engineering.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-70
Number of pages12
JournalEnglish for Specific Purposes
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Academic writing
  • Challenges
  • Engineering students
  • Language strategies
  • Postgraduates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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