Academic journal article English Language Teaching

An Analysis of Current Graduation Thesis Writing by English Majors in Independent Institute

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

An Analysis of Current Graduation Thesis Writing by English Majors in Independent Institute

Article excerpt


The paper takes 414 graduates from ZJU in 2011 and 2012, NIT as a case, analyzing the status of their writing of graduation thesis. It is found that a considerable number of students have problems in selection and report of topics, writing of each part and debating in the whole process of graduation thesis. In view of the situation, based on the effective measures and some practical experience by English majors in NIT, ZJU, it is suggested we should raise both teachers' and students' awareness and consciousness in the importance in thesis writing, establish quality management and monitoring system, strictly check selection and report of topics, give play to the library, have topic verification and application guide, being familiar with the writing requirements of the abstract, optimize English curriculum and make professional management features outstanding and enhance the students' and teachers' ability, thereby improving the writing of the graduation thesis and reflecting subject construction in English major.

Keywords: English major, graduation thesis, writing, guide

1. Introduction

Undergraduate thesis is an essential integral part of the plan in Higher Education Institutions on talents' cultivation, which also plays an essential role in education irreplaceable by other means of teaching. This is a vital standard criterion in assessing undergraduate educational quality in independent institutions. Thanks to the expansion of the higher education in the realm of independent institutions, it bestows students with more opportunities to receive higher education. Meanwhile, there arise such new problems as the quality of education, among which the quality of undergraduate thesis raises great attention from people in both the department of education and administrative level.

Written production is indeed a complicated process (Zimmerman, 2000). It can challenge those writing in L1, but for those writing in a foreign language, the challenges are even greater. Researchers have been showing great interest in graduation thesis writing by English majors. The literature has reached agreement on the principles set by the National Curriculum for College English Programs (2000). The process of thesis writing is more important than the writing result itself. For EFL learners completing a thesis is a big project, which will take up almost every student's last year at university. Effective administration and evaluation methods should be employed to guarantee the progress of the project. Yu's (2001) suggestions on this aspect embody the characteristics and requirements of the English major, and are fairly practical as well. The empirical study on the general state of thesis writing by Mu (2001) is a survey of 165 college seniors. There are some detailed findings: the majority of the subjects wrote their theses for the sake of fulfilling the requirement, with little appreciation of its real purpose or importance; over half of the survey subjects chose literature as the subject area for their theses; most of the subjects did not realize that research involves looking for references to further their study.

From the above, we know all these researches were kind of partial descriptions. There are few holistic analyses to the main problems in undergraduate thesis writing by English majors in terms of research proposal, writing process consisting of abstract, keywords, contents, research itself, and acknowledgement, and oral defense.

2. Methodology

The reviewed literature can not answer the following questions systematically: What is the status quo of thesis writing for English majors? What are the main problems in undergraduate thesis writing for English majors? And how to solve these main problems?

Guided by the six rubrics - choosing a topic, preparing a working biology, collecting in formation, outlining the paper, writing the paper, elements of research papers in thesis writing by Slade (2000), this paper is to specify the basic criteria in Thesis Instructions for English Majors from Institutions of Higher Learning (revised edition) (2007) - assess students' English proficiency, assess students' ability in conducting preliminary research in related fields and its specific criteria - scope of the topic, language proficiency, the content of thesis, including its richness, innovation, persuasion of argumentation, convincingness of conclusion, appropriacy of literature, no plagiarism, students' studying attitude. …

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