Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on CALL Number 6. July 2020                             Pp. 114- 121

Full Paper PDF


Academic Writing: Challenges and Potential Solutions 


Manal AlMarwani
Department of Curricula and Instruction, School of Education,
Taibah University, Saudi Arabia




This paper explored postgraduate TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) students’ perspectives on academic writing challenges and their practices to overcome them. The study is triggered by identified needs in literature and the empirical needs of postgraduate TESOL students in the study context. In-depth semi-structured focus group interviews were used to collect the data. The data analysis revealed that the difficulties they encounter are mainly filled into one of the following categories: language skills, academic writing skills, and source managing skills. At the same time, the study probed an intervention trial of using Google Classroom. Having explored students’ perceptions regarding the use of Google Classroom and its effect on their academic writing revealed the growing understanding of digital tools’ impact on encouraging independent learning and critical awareness that contribute to the enhancement of academic writing. However, with the advancements in technology, students seek support from online resources, but they still think that feedback from lecturers and supervisors is a crucial source of support; therefore, scaffolded feedback is recommended.
Keywordsacademic writing, Google classroom, postgraduate, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages(TESOL) 

Cite as: AlMarwani , M. (2020). Academic Writing: Challenges and Potential Solutions. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on CALL (6). 114-121.


Bernard, R., Abrami, P., Borokhovski, E., Wade, C., Tamim, R., Surkes, M., & Bethel, E. (2009). A meta-analysis of three types of interaction treatments in distance education. Review of Educational Research, 79(3), 1243-1289.

Boyle, J., Ramsay, S., & Struan, A. (2019). The Academic Writing Skills Programme: A model for technology-enhanced, blended delivery of an academic writing programme. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 16(4), 1-12.

Creswell, J. (2007). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing among Five Approaches. Lincoln: Sage.

Gall, M., Gall, J., & Borg, R. (2007). Educational research: An introduction (8th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson Education.

Kumar, V., & Aitchison, C. (2018). Peer facilitated writing groups: a programmatic approach to doctoral student writing. Teaching in Higher Education, 23(3), 360-373.

Lavelle, E., & Bushrow, K. (2007). Writing approaches of graduate students. Educational Psychology, 27(6), 807-822.

Lea, M. R., & Street, B. V. (1998). Student writing in higher education: An academic literacies approach. Studies in Higher Education, 23(2), 157-172.

Lea, M. R., & Street, B. V. (2006). The” academic literacies” model: Theory and applications. Theory into Practice, 45(4), 368-377.

Mudawy, A. M. A. & Mousa, A. A. E. (2017). Academic writing among Saudi university students: problems and solutions. International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR), 6(5), 1-4.

Schwenger, B. (2016). Enhancing students’ tertiary blended learning experience through embedding digital information literacy. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 4(1), 71-77.

Singh, M. K. M. (2019). Academic Reading and Writing Challenges Among International EFL Master’s Students in a Malaysian University: The Voice of Lecturers. Journal of International Students, 9(4), 972-992.

Stotsky, S. (1983). Research on reading/writing relationships: A synthesis and suggested directions. Language Arts, 60(5), 627-642

Tardy, C. M. (2010). Writing for the World: Wikipedia as an Introduction to Academic Writing. English Teaching Forum, 48(1), 12-27.

Zamel, V. (1992). Writing one’s way into reading. TESOL Quarterly, 26(3), 463-485.


Dr. Manal AlMarwani is an assistant professor specialising in Educational Research and
Development, with a focus on mobile learning, e-learning and ICT. Combines expertise in English
education with a commitment to on-going development, including accreditation as a Prince2
Project Management Practitioner. Keen to share expertise and contribute to international
educational projects.