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'Playing safe': Undergraduate essay writing and the presentation of the student 'voice'

By B. Read, B. Francis and J. Robson

Abstract

For undergraduate students, the act of essay writing involves not only the struggle to understand and critically engage with a particular area of knowledge, but also the struggle to successfully utilise the language that must be used in order to communicate this engagement. Based on interviews with final-year undergraduates from four different universities, this article focuses on the difficulties students face in acquiring the language necessary to present their opinions and ideas in essays, and the effects of the unequal power relationship between student and lecturer on the presentation of the student 'voice'. Students not only struggle due to lack of clear guidance in the 'rules of the game' of academic writing, but a significant number also hold back from presenting their views or opinions, through lack of confidence or through a belief that lecturers will penalise views with which they do not agree

Year: 2001
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.gla.ac.uk:74758
Provided by: Enlighten
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