Journal article

Critical analysis versus description? Examining the relationship in successful student writing

R Woodward-Kron

Journal of English for Academic Purposes | Published : 2002


In Western tertiary contexts, critical analysis is firmly established as one of the most desirable characteristics of student writing. In subject guidelines and assessment criteria, the distinction between successful and less successful writing is often couched in terms of critical analysis as opposed to description. Student writing which merely describes aspects of theories, issues or concepts is not highly valued. A functional linguistic investigation of 20 successful essays written by trainee teachers shows, however, that forms of descriptive writing such as naming, taxonomising, and reporting are intrinsic to students' attempts at critical analysis. This paper argues that descriptive wri..

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University of Melbourne Researchers

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