Interactional dynamics in on-line and face-to-face peer-tutoring sessions for second language writers

Rodney H. Jones, Angel Garralda, Chor Shing David Li, Graham Lock

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports the results of a study comparing the interactional dynamics of face-to-face and on-line peer-tutoring in writing by university students in Hong Kong. Transcripts of face-to-face tutoring sessions, as well as logs of on-line sessions conducted by the same peer-tutors, were coded for speech functions using a system based on Halliday's functional-semantic view of dialogue. Results show considerable differences between the interactional dynamics in on-line and face-to-face tutoring sessions. In particular, face-to-face interactions involved more hierarchal encounters in which tutors took control of the discourse, whereas on-line interactions were more egalitarian, with clients controlling the discourse more. Differences were also found in the topics participants chose to focus on in the two modes, with issues of grammar, vocabulary, and style taking precedence in face-to-face sessions and more "global" writing concerns like content and process being discussed more in on-line sessions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Second Language Writing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • ESL writers
  • Interaction
  • Peer-tutoring
  • Writing centers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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