The current global trend in education paves way for new and improved means of academic writing practices in higher education, with which most of the higher education institutions in Papua New Guinea (PNG) are struggling to measure up. This comparative case study of a public and a privately (mission) run university in PNG examines the concerns and challenges that they encounter to support their academic writing practices. Multiple sources of data were obtained through semi-structured interviews, non-participatory observations and documentation search. A total of twelve students, eight educators, and five academic administrators were engaged in the interviews through the process of stratified sampling. For the observations, four tutorial groups of which, two from each participating university were engaged. Data were also collected from some existing policy documents which relate to the academic writing practices of the two universities. The data were analysed using a combination of data analyses methods which include interactive model of data analysis, activity system of data analysis, thematic analysis and NVivo research tool as informed by an activity theory, which anticipates that for a system to produce a desired outcome, it needs inputs from all the players in the system. The findings suggest that the public university seems to struggle more to meet its academic needs compared to the private university. Academic writing practices of the two universities vary depending on the availability of their online educational resources like ‘moodle,’ multimedia, databases, Wi-Fi and other supports such as expertise and infrastructure.
Lawrence Kaiapo Gerry, University of New South Wales, Australia
Stream: Languages education and applied linguistics (ESL/TESL/TEFL)
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