What are the Perceptions of STEM Students Regarding Writing Practices in a University in Kazakhstan?
Keywords:STEM writing, Writing Center, University writing, Student perceptions, Writing
Undergraduate students in STEM fields often lack writing experience as their majors usually do not require intensive writing courses. Therefore, many STEM students do not engage in writing as much as students in humanities and social sciences. In order to better understand and help STEM students writing, it is important to investigate STEM students’ perceptions regarding their writing practices in the university. The research was conducted in a research university located in Central Asia, Kazakhstan. Two qualitative research methods were used in the study, namely, qualitative interview and paper observation. Five students from different majors in the STEM fields were interviewed, and five of their writing assignments were collected and analyzed. Findings demonstrated that students in the chosen university have similar struggles and opinions about writing as revealed in the literature. STEM students understand that writing is significant; however, due to the lack of experience, they do not always see the importance of writing in their own majors. It was also found that, in terms of building their perceptions, the roles of STEM faculties and the University Writing Center are crucial factors. They can contribute to students’ writing in both positive and negative ways. The implications of the research can be beneficial for constructing and adjusting policies and regulations in the university curriculum to help STEM students build more positive perceptions about writing.
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