Dissertation Writing in Practice

Turning Ideas into Text


Linda Cooley and Jo Lewkowicz

ISBN : 978-962-209-647-9

Language, Linguistics, Reference

October 2003

212 pages, 6″ x 9″

  • HK$175.00

This book is designed to raise students’ awareness of the linguistic features of a postgraduate dissertation/thesis written in English. It deals primarily with the linguistic aspects of extended pieces of writing, placing great emphasis on the writer’s responsibility for the readability of the text. Each of the features introduced is illustrated through examples taken from authentic writing at the appropriate level. In addition, each chapter has a number of tasks to help students put into practice the skills that have been introduced.

This book is mainly designed to help research students whose first language is not English, but it should also prove useful to native speakers of English, many of whom lack extensive experience of writing at this level. It can be used as a textbook for postgraduate students on a dissertation/thesis writing course, and may also be used as a self-study guide since an annotated answer key is provided for all the tasks.

This book takes a realistic approach to helping students who may find the extended writing required at postgraduate level a daunting task; although it provides ample opportunities for practice, it does not expect students to produce extensive writing beyond that required for their degree.

Linda Cooley is the co-ordinator of the postgraduate English programmes run by the English Centre for the Graduate School at the University of Hong Kong. She specializes in teaching writing at postgraduate level and has designed discipline-specific dissertation writing courses for students in real estate and construction, education, dentistry and business. Jo Lewkowicz is an associate professor in the English Centre at the University of Hong Kong, where she teaches on the MA in Applied Linguistics and on the Graduate School’s dissertation writing course. Her research interests include language testing, programme evaluation and postgraduate literacy and she has published extensively in all three areas.

“Writing a dissertation is hard work for native speakers. It is doubly difficult for those who have to complete the task in a language other than their own. How does one set about such a task? This question is admirably answered by this superb book derived from the authors’ practical experience in teaching courses on dissertation writing to second language speakers.” —David Nunan, Chair Professor of Applied Linguistics, The University of Hong Kong

“This book provides what students are constantly asking for: practical advice not only on the processes of writing a dissertation but also on the specific linguistic features required for different purposes within it. Its enormous value lies in its focus on the practicalities of “turning ideas into text”, rather than just stating the conventions to be followed. It skilfully combines insights from theory and research with real life examples and exercises. As someone who has taught courses on postgraduate dissertation writing for many years, I have one regret: that my previous students did not have the benefit of this book. From now on, I will be recommending it as a key resource.” —Roz Ivanic, Senior Lecturer, Department of Linguistics and Modern English Language, Lancaster University