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Title: The impact of textual cohesive conjunctions on the reading comprehensive of 4th year English major students in Libyan universities
Authors: Innajih, Abdussalam Ammar
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This study investigated the impact of textual cohesive conjunctives on the reading comprehension of Libyan university students studying English as a foreign language. Conjunctions as defined by Halliday and Hasan (1976) in their theory of textual cohesion provide the theoretical background to this work. The literature reviewed revealed contradictory findings in relation to the effect of conjunctions on reading comprehension. Many linguists and psycholinguists found that all conjunctive types (i. e. additives, adversatives, causals, and temporals) can facilitate reading comprehension. However, other studies came to the conclusion that conjunctives affected reading comprehension in different ways, or that they had no effect or a negative effect on the reading comprehension of native and foreign language readers. In order to explore the effects of conjunctions on the reading comprehension of university students for whom English was a foreign language (i. e. 4 `h year English department students in two Libyan universities) an intervention programme was designed. This programme involved the application of pre-post tests and only post-test of reading comprehension. The first experiment was organised in the Gharian English Department and the second took place in the Sabrata English Department. The participants were divided into comparative/control and treatment/intervention groups. The treatment group was explicitly taught conjunctions for three months. The comparative groups were taught their current traditional syllabus. The rationale behind having two different types of experiments in two English departmentsis the recommendatioonf Bryman( 1989)a nd otherm ethodologisttso be cautious of the possible negative effect of pre-testing. There is a possibility that the participants who attend the pre-test could benefit from this experience when they answer the same questions in the post-test, especially if the interval between the tests is short. By organising two experiments enough data were available for the study even if a negative effect from the pre- and the post-test experiment was discovered. That was followed by interviewing the participants of the treatment groups and asking them about the strategies they had used in answering the reading comprehension test. By organising semi-structured interviews, the researcher was able to explore the extent to which the participants had used their understanding of conjunctions to facilitate reading comprehension. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse the collected data. T-tests were conducted to find out if there were any significant differences between the means of the treatment group, and the comparative groups' pre and post-tests results. The results revealed that all of the conjunctive types investigated facilitated the reading comprehension of the fourth year English students in the two Libyan university English departments. However, it was found that some conjunctive types were more facilitative of reading comprehension than others. The pedagogical implications of the findings for the teaching of reading in Libyan universities and beyond are discussed.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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