Dissertation Defense Announcement
The College of Arts and Sciences announces the Final Dissertation Defense of
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
April 6, 2018 at 10:00 AM in Patterson Hall
Advisor: Emily A. Thrush
Investigating L2 Writers' Investment Towards Constructing a Successful Writer Identity: Case Studies of Arab Students from Saudi Arabia studying in U.S.
ABSTRACT: This study focused on how three Saudi students at a University of Memphis in the U.S. constructed their writer identities. The purposes of this study, grounded in sociocultural and discourse theory, were to (a) understand how similar or different were the discourse writing practices in their L1 community (Saudi Arabia) to those writing practices in the L2 community (United States), (b) determine their individual investments in writing academic papers according to writing convention of the L2 community, and (c) elicit aspects of writer identity in their different academic papers written for different courses. I conducted a qualitative case study and collected three discourse based interviews, three graded academic written papers, and one reflective essay from each student. Based on thematic analysis, the findings indicate that the Saudi students in this study exhibited various approaches in constructing their writer identities. First, Saudi writers' identities were multifaceted, as they tended to embrace writing knowledge, aptitudes, practices, and views on being L2 writers of English differently in each discourse community. Second, the Saudi students discussed their investment and participation in developing positive identities as L2 writers of English. They took on the subject positions or the social identities that the current discourse of their disciplinary community called upon them to write different assignments. Finally, Saudi students' identity construction was influenced by many factors such as prior knowledge and previous writing practices, the current academic discourse, their resistant attitudes toward the target discourse, as well as their English writing proficiency. Nevertheless, Saudi students tended to construct multiple writer identities and negotiated continually for improved identities as writers in all the assignments they wrote. Not only they were more conscious of the different approached required for the diverse written assignments, but also they became sensitive to each writing context, and gained confidence as they developed more writing knowledge and skills.