Developing Research-Based Pedagogy in L2 Source Use: a Comparison of Textual Borrowing Strategies of L1 and L2 Published Writers

Project: A - Government Institutionb - Ministry of Science and Technology

Project Details


Writing from sources is an important academic literacy that every writer needs to acquire since only when new research situates within a wider disciplinary framework through explicit reference to prior literature will it be recognized by members of discourse communities (Berkenkotter & Huckin, 1995; Hyland, 1999; Polio & Shi, 2012). Given the complexity involved in using sources appropriately, both L1 and L2 novice writers have been reported to exhibit characteristics of inappropriate source use or plagiarism (Brown & Day, 1983; Johns, 1985) although L2 writers, in general, are found to experience greater challenges resulting mainly from cultural differences (Hu & Lei, 2012; Pecorari, 2003; Shi, 2004; Sun, 2012) and language proficiency (Leask 2006; Liu, 2005; Pecorari, 2001). A number of recent studies, however, have urged not to stereotype L2 writers’ inappropriate source use as deficit; instead, we should see it as a developmental phase that every writer, either L1 or L2, needs to go through (Currie, 1998; Howard, 1995; Pennycook, 1996) and treat it as a great pedagogical opportunity to facilitate writers’ transition. In fact, the role of pedagogy has become the focus of future research direction of plagiarism in L2 writing (Flowerdew, 2015; Hu, 2015; Pecorari, 2015; Petrić, 2015). To offer empirically-based pedagogical recommendations, it is essential to further our understanding of writers’ actual citation practices through analyzing concrete instances of textual borrowing in context. While few studies have attempted to unveil linguistic strategies that writers employed in actual textual representation, they are inconsistent in methods used and taxonomies developed (Keck, 2006, 2014; Shi, 2004; Sun & Yang, 2015). Thus, we are in need of establishing a reliable method in uncovering textual borrowing strategies of writers to offer empirically valid pedagogical recommendations. To address the problem of Taiwanese graduate students who hold misconceptions of legitimate textual borrowing strategies, this study aims at establishing a reliable and consistent method that uncovers the full range of textual borrowing strategies employed by published writers with an ultimate goal of developing empirically-based pedagogy that teaches students effective citation practices. Text-based analyses will be conducted to identify textual borrowing strategies employed in 20 RAs written by L1 and L2 published writers, respectively, using Keck’s (2006) and Sun and Yang’s (2015) taxonomies as prototype coding schemes. Through comparing writers’ texts with source texts they use, the study also explores how textual borrowing strategies used engage contextual factors involved, attempting to relate the cotextual and contextual aspects of source use (Jakobs, 2003). Preliminary results of a pilot study showed that L1 and L2 writers employed different types of citation forms with different textual borrowing strategies. In particular, it was interesting to note that the most frequently used citation forms and textual borrowing strategies by L1 writers were used the least by L2 writers. Building upon these results, this study will have great contributions in uncovering citation practices of published writers, which will be of significant pedagogical value in developing contextually-dependent, empirically-based training or instruction on effective source use for L2 writers.
Effective start/end date8/1/177/31/18


  • Citation analysis
  • Paraphrasing
  • Plagiarism
  • Textual borrowing
  • Academic writing
  • Source use