• Academics’ understandings of the authorial academic writer: a qualitative analysis of authorial identity

      Cheung, Kevin Yet Fong; Elander, James; Stupple, Edward J. N.; Flay, Mike; University of Derby (Taylor and Francis, 2016-12-22)
      Research on authorial identity has focused almost exclusively on the attitudes and beliefs of students. This paper explores how academics understand authorial identity in higher education. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 27 professional academics and analysed using thematic analysis, identifying themes at two levels. At the semantic level was a main theme called ‘the authorial writer’, with five subthemes: ‘authorial confidence’, ‘valuing writing’, ‘ownership and attachment’, ‘authorial thinking’, and ‘authorial goals’. At the latent level were two integrative themes: ‘tacit learning’ and ‘negotiating identities’. The semantic subthemes represent attributes that could be targets for pedagogic interventions. The integrative themes suggest processes in the development of authorial identity, which can inform more effective teaching. By identifying attributes and processes associated with authorial identity, these findings help towards a psychological understanding of authorial identity, informing development of more effective pedagogy to help students improve their academic writing and avoid plagiarism.
    • Development and validation of the student attitudes and beliefs about authorship scale: a psychometrically robust measure of authorial identity

      Cheung, Kevin Yet Fong; Stupple, Edward J. N.; Elander, James; University of Derby (Taylor and Francis, 2015-04-22)
      One approach to plagiarism prevention focuses on improving students’ authorial identity, but work in this area depends on robust measures. This paper presents the development of a psychometrically robust measure of authorial identity - the Student Attitudes and Beliefs about Authorship Scale. In the item generation phase, a pool of items was developed and assessed for content validity by subject matter experts. In the exploratory phase, data from 439 higher education students were used to identify a latent variable model with three factors: ‘authorial confidence’, ‘valuing writing’ and ‘identification with author’. In the confirmatory phase, data from 306 higher education students were used to test the three-factor model's reliability and validity. The three-factor structure was confirmed, and the results showed the SABAS has a stronger psychometric basis than previously available measures. This measure of authorial identity can be used with confidence in research and pedagogy to help students improve their authorial identity.
    • Dyslexia, authorial identity, and approaches to learning and writing: a mixed methods study

      Kinder, Julianne; Elander, James; University of Derby (2011-12-01)
      Background. Dyslexia may lead to difficulties with academic writing as well as reading. The authorial identity approach aims to help students improve their academic writing and avoid unintentional plagiarism, and could help to understand dyslexic students’ approaches to writing. Aims. (1) To compare dyslexic and non-dyslexic students’ authorial identity and approaches to learning and writing; (2) to compare correlations between approaches to writing and approaches to learning among dyslexic and non-dyslexic students; (3) to explore dyslexic students’ understandings of authorship and beliefs about dyslexia, writing and plagiarism. Sample. Dyslexic (n = 31) and non-dyslexic (n = 31) university students. Method. Questionnaire measures of self-rated confidence in writing, understanding of authorship, knowledge to avoid plagiarism, and top-down, bottom-up and pragmatic approaches to writing (Student Authorship Questionnaire; SAQ), and deep, surface and strategic approaches to learning (Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students; ASSIST), plus qualitative interviews with dyslexic students with high and low SAQscores. Results. Dyslexic students scored lower for confidence in writing, understanding authorship, and strategic approaches to learning, and higher for surface approaches to learning. Correlations among SAQ and ASSIST scores were larger and more frequently significant among non-dyslexic students. Self-rated knowledge to avoid plagiarism was associated with a top-down approach to writing among dyslexic students and with a bottom-up approach to writing among non-dyslexic students. All the dyslexic students interviewed described how dyslexia made writing more difficult and reduced their confidence in academic writing, but they had varying views about whether dyslexia increased the risk of plagiarism. Conclusions. Dyslexic students have less strong authorial identities, and less congruent approaches to learning and writing. Knowledge to avoid plagiarism may be more salient for dyslexic students, who may benefit from specific interventions to increase confidence in writing and understanding of authorship. Further research could investigate how dyslexic students develop approaches to academic writing, and how that could be affected by perceived knowledge to avoid plagiarism.
    • Student beliefs and attitudes about authorial identity in academic writing

      Pittam, Gail; Elander, James; Lusher, Joanne; Fox, Pauline; Payne, Nicola; University of Derby (2009-11)
      Authorial identity is the sense a writer has of themselves as an author and the textual identity they construct in their writing. This article describes two studies exploring psychology students’ authorial identity in academic writing. A qualitative focus group study with 19 students showed that authorial identity was largely unfamiliar to students, and highlighted the obstacles perceived by students to constructing authorial identities in university assignments. A questionnaire survey of 318 students explored the factor structure of an 18-item Student Authorship Questionnaire. Three factors described aspects of student authorial identity (‘confidence in writing’, ‘understanding authorship’ and ‘knowledge to avoid plagiarism’), and three factors described approaches to writing (‘top-down’, ‘bottom-up’ and ‘pragmatic’). Confidence in writing and knowledge to avoid plagiarism were significantly higher among year 2 than year 1 students. Both studies could inform interventions to reduce unintentional plagiarism by improving students’ authorial identity.