International students’ experiences of using online resources for academic writing




Tian, Ke

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This qualitative descriptive case study investigates four Chinese international students’ use of online resources for academic writing in a western Canadian university. This study has direct implications for English as a Foreign Language/English as a Second Language writing instruction as well as international students’ use of university library. Methodological triangulation was used to collect data. This included a semi-structured interview, a computer-based writing task, and a think-aloud activity. Data was coded and analyzed within cases and re-analyzed across the four cases. The salient themes that emerged from this analysis include: indispensable role of online resources in academic writing; a solution to language problems; ability of evaluation; a solution to plagiarism; influences of search habits; concerns about graduate students; and the importance of professors. Four major findings of the study include: important uses of online resources for solving language problems; students’ search skills in online databases; students’ use of the UVic library; and the importance of professors’ instruction. These findings will be helpful for educators to consider as they work to integrate online resources for international students’ writing instruction; and for academic libraries to consider as they offer services to assist EFL/ESL learners.



qualitative case study, triangulation, EFL/ESL writing, university library, online dictionary, online resources, search behaviour