Factors underpinning students' use or non-use of a writing centre

Aradhna Arbee

Abstract


Research has shown that writing centre use has a positive effect on students’ performance of specific writing tasks, as well as their overall academic achievement and progression. Yet many writing centres at higher education institutions around the world report low levels of usage of their services. Surprisingly little empirical research has investigated the reasons for this situation. Focusing on students in an undergraduate marketing module at a South African university, the research reported on in this article explored what factors influenced whether or not students made use of the writing centre, as well as potential strategies for increasing the usage of writing centre services. Thematic analysis of participants’ written responses to open-ended questions indicated that the major reason for non-use of the writing centre related to time. Misunderstandings around the role of the writing centre were also apparent. Participants’ proposed strategies to increase voluntary use of the writing centre included providing evidence of its value to students. The findings offer insight into an overlooked perspective in writing centre research thus far – that of non-users of the service.  


Keywords


academic literacies; academic writing; discipline; Marketing; writing centre

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5785/36-1-881

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