Practice makes perfect: a WID approach for Human Resource Management Honours students at a South African university

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Laura Arnold

Abstract

Little is known about how postgraduate students should be taught to write in their discipline. This research explores how a research preparation module supported Human Resource Management Honours students to write their research reports at a South African university. The module incorporated a ‘Writing in the Disciplines’ (WID) approach, because students, who worked in groups, wrote a series of developmental assignments marked according to rubrics that made the conventions of the report explicit. Many of the developmental assignments were rewritten as components of the research report. In order to determine if rewriting the assignments improved the students’ writing, the assignments from four groups were evaluated against the students’ rubrics. The redrafted assignments met more of the criteria in the marking rubrics. Since all group members spoke English as an additional language, this approach might benefit postgraduate students in similar contexts. The findings suggest that academic staff who want to offer developmental assignments prior to the submission of a larger research text should ensure that students are supported in two ways. Firstly, the design of the assignments should provide students with the opportunity to practice writing all the components of the larger piece of research writing. Secondly, supervisors and academic literacies practitioners should collaborate more effectively so that they can use what they learn from each other to better support students to write for their disciplines.


How to cite this article:


ARNOLD, Laura. Practice makes perfect: a WID approach for Human Resource Management Honours students at a South African university. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in the South, v. 2, n. 1, p. 42-59, Apr. 2018. Available at: http://sotl-south-journal.net/?journal=sotls&page=article&op=view&path%5B%5D=25