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An Exploration of the Scientific Writing Experience of Nonnative English-Speaking Doctoral Supervisors and Students Using a Phenomenographic Approach


Affiliations
1 Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z3, Canada
2 Centre for Clinical Research in Sormland, Sormland County Council, 63188 Eskilstuna, Sweden
3 Department of Physiotherapy, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Malardalen University, 721 23 Vasteras,, Sweden
 

Nonnative English-speaking scholars and trainees are increasingly submitting their work to English journals. The study's aim was to describe their experiences regarding scientific writing in English using a qualitative phenomenographic approach. Two focus groups (5 doctoral supervisors and 13 students) were conducted. Participants were nonnative English-speakers in a Swedish health sciences faculty. Group discussion focused on scientific writing in English, specifically, rewards, challenges, facilitators, and barriers. Participants were asked about their needs for related educational supports. Inductive phenomenographic analysis included extraction of referential (phenomenon as a whole) and structural (phenomenon parts) aspects of the transcription data. Doctoral supervisors and students viewed English scientific writing as challenging but worthwhile. Both groups viewed mastering English scientific writing as necessary but each struggles with the process differently. Supervisors viewed it as a long-term professional responsibility (generating knowledge, networking, and promotion eligibility). Alternatively, doctoral students viewed its importance in the short term (learning publication skills). Both groups acknowledged they would benefit from personalized feedback on writing style/format, but in distinct ways. Nonnative English-speaking doctoral supervisors and students in Sweden may benefit from on-going writing educational supports. Editors/reviewers need to increase awareness of the challenges of international contributors and maximize the formative constructiveness of their reviews.
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  • An Exploration of the Scientific Writing Experience of Nonnative English-Speaking Doctoral Supervisors and Students Using a Phenomenographic Approach

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Authors

Elizabeth Dean
Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z3, Canada
Lena Nordgren
Centre for Clinical Research in Sormland, Sormland County Council, 63188 Eskilstuna, Sweden
Anne Soderlund
Department of Physiotherapy, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Malardalen University, 721 23 Vasteras,, Sweden

Abstract


Nonnative English-speaking scholars and trainees are increasingly submitting their work to English journals. The study's aim was to describe their experiences regarding scientific writing in English using a qualitative phenomenographic approach. Two focus groups (5 doctoral supervisors and 13 students) were conducted. Participants were nonnative English-speakers in a Swedish health sciences faculty. Group discussion focused on scientific writing in English, specifically, rewards, challenges, facilitators, and barriers. Participants were asked about their needs for related educational supports. Inductive phenomenographic analysis included extraction of referential (phenomenon as a whole) and structural (phenomenon parts) aspects of the transcription data. Doctoral supervisors and students viewed English scientific writing as challenging but worthwhile. Both groups viewed mastering English scientific writing as necessary but each struggles with the process differently. Supervisors viewed it as a long-term professional responsibility (generating knowledge, networking, and promotion eligibility). Alternatively, doctoral students viewed its importance in the short term (learning publication skills). Both groups acknowledged they would benefit from personalized feedback on writing style/format, but in distinct ways. Nonnative English-speaking doctoral supervisors and students in Sweden may benefit from on-going writing educational supports. Editors/reviewers need to increase awareness of the challenges of international contributors and maximize the formative constructiveness of their reviews.