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Vol.5, Issue 1, 2019, pp.114-134 Full text

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Web of Science: 000472606700008

Christina A. DeCoursey
Affiliation: Innopolis University, Innopolis, Russian Federation

Aliaa N. Hamad
Affiliation: American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt

Contributor roles:
Conceptualization; Investigation; Methodology; Validation; Writing original draft; Writing – review and editing; Resources: C. A. DeC. (lead); A. N. H. (supporting);

Pekrun's (2000, 2006) questionnaire-based model of academic emotions is widely used. However, Appraisal analysis of qualitative data offers richer detail. This study used Appraisal analysis to assess the subjective attitudes realised by students across four weeks during which they wrote an essay. Results indicate that judgments and appreciations were nearly as frequently-realised as emotions, and the distribution and attitudinal profile differed in all 4 weeks of the task. Positive and negative realisations of capacity, quality, impact and complexity resembled a typical U-shaped learning curve. Polarity suggested that week 3 was the most difficult for participants, and negative emotional dispositions increased across the task where negative surges peaked in weeks 2 and 3. This study highlights the value of Appraisal analysis in detailing the subjective attitudes evoked by academic emotions. It suggests that emotion-focused questionnaires exclude relevant content, concluding for a small set of emotions before sufficient study has been undertaken.

Keywords: academic achievement, academic emotions, second-language writing, essay-writing, Appraisal analysis, subjective attitudes

Article history:
Submitted: 14 December 2018;
Reviewed: 23 January 2019;
Revised: 10 April 2019;
Accepted: 20 April 2019;
Published: 1 June 2019

Citation (APA):
DeCoursey, C. A., & Hamad, A. N. (2019). Emotions Across the Essay: What Second-language Writers Feel across Four Weeks' Writing a Research Essay. English Studies at NBU, 5(1), 114-134.

Copyright © 2019 Christina A. DeCoursey and Aliaa N. Hamad

This open access article is published and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0), which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. If you want to use the work commercially, you must first get the authors' permission.

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Open Review

1. Reviewer's name: Svetlana Dimitrova-Gyuzeleva, PhD, New Bulgarian University
Publons Reviewer Profile
Review Verified on Publons
Review Content:
This is an original article exploring what learners in an academic context of study feel when they are tackling an academic task (such as the writing of a research article), i.e. what emotions and attitudes they have when they are learning. Subjective states have been recognised as significant to learning by many scholars (especially in the field of neurolinguistics), so the more valid data teachers have about how their students feel when they try to complete an academic task, the more they'll be in position to maximize on the affordances of the learning situation and lead their learners to success.

The unique contribution of the author of the manuscript is in illustrating the value of the Appraisal analysis of data over Pekrun's model of studying academic emotions (or rather recommend their complementary use) through their use in one specific educational context.
The aim of the article is well defined (research limitations are also duly acknowledged), pertinent to tertiary education (but not only) and the claims are well supported through anecdotal and empirical evidence.

Both the theoretical framework and the literature review are well-developed and appropriate for the genre. Use of sources is correctly acknowledged (with only 1-2 lapses re references in the text).

The methodological approach is one of the strongest points of the manuscript - the two methods used for analysing students' self-report reflections are appropriate for addressing the research problem and revealing interesting traits in the empirical data.

The inferences and conclusions are clearly drawn from the findings, though - as the author admits - findings might be impacted by factors beyond his/her control (such as cultural and individual differences, the fact that students wrote in their second language and reflected on one type of academic task only, etc.). However, the interpretation of the influence of these factors on the findings could not be dealt within the scope of a single manuscript and, admittedly, was not the aim of the present article. Still, readers are made aware of the existence of these possible variables and the limitations of the present research.

The article is well-written and readable, with a coherent argument. There are some minor language problems occasionally which can easily be edited (see my comments in the manuscript itself).

No highly specialised knowledge is required - the article may be found beneficial by lecturers in other fields (not only philologists and psychologists).

2. Reviewer's name: Undisclosed
Review Content: Undisclosed
Review Verified on Publons

Handling Editor: Stan Bogdanov
Verified Editor Record on Publons:

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