Students' Challenges and Development in the Transition to Academic Writing at an English-Medium University in Qatar

Publication Title

International Review of Applied Linguistics

Publication Date


Document Type





academic writing development, DocuScope, english-medium education, Qatar


English Language and Literature | Rhetoric and Composition


Drawing on data from a 4-year longitudinal study of literacy development at an English-medium university in Qatar, this paper aims to document the challenges and development of multilingual students' literacy skills in their transition to college. Interviews reveal students' challenges during the first semester in terms of reading comprehension difficulties stemming from limited vocabulary knowledge, background knowledge, and reading stamina; in addition, students describe difficulties understanding the genre expectations and style of English academic writing. Despite these challenges, interviews also reveal development in students' academic reading and writing as their understanding of college writing expectations and their use of learning strategies and resources increase. In addition, analysis of student writing using corpus-based text analysis software reveals indicators of academic writing development such as increase in the use of academic register, elaboration, and reasoning. Together, these findings contribute to an understanding of challenges and academic development of students in English-medium universities.