Learning how to write effectively for academic journals: A case study investigating the design and development of a genre-based writing tutorial system

Hsiang Yee Lo, Gi Zen Liu, Tzone I. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Genre-based writing instruction (GBWI) has been used for English journal paper writing both in classroom teaching and in the development of materials utilizing move analysis and corpus-based analysis. Some writing systems and tutorials have also been developed to improve the writing of non-native English speakers (NNES), as well as to assist academics and researchers for their publications. However, most of these systems had been developed for certain aspects of academic journal writing, such as organizing references, preventing plagiarism, or finding appropriate collocations. Accordingly, EJP-Write, a Chinese-interfaced writing system for English academic journal writing, was developed based on GBWI to teach and assist journal writing in a user-friendly environment. The present study aimed to investigate the perceived usefulness (content effectiveness) and perceived usability (system functionality) of EJP-Write, and identify other factors that might influence user attitudes and continued usage intention. Data was collected via questionnaire (N = 35) and structural equation modeling (SEM) was conducted for fitness estimation on the modified Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). Semi-structured interviews were also conducted to collect additional information for usefulness and usability evaluation (N = 14). Regarding perceived usefulness, the results show that participants felt the EJP-Write content was useful and effective in teaching genre and move structure because of the aid of various forms of support and examples such as phrase and paragraph templates. Additionally, the learning materials for verb tenses and citation formats were informative and practical for the participants to avoid grammatical and technical errors. However, the move structure provided was limited to the discipline of e-learning and education; thus, move analysis for different fields was suggested. Regarding perceived usability, the citation-related features in EJP-Write were particularly well-regarded. Participants also provided suggestions to improve online editing and outline developing features in the system. Factors found to influence user attitudes, and thus the intention of continued use, were usefulness and usability, while writing anxiety and personalization had less impact. Findings of the quantitative and qualitative data analysis in the study suggest that EJP-Write can play multiple roles inside or outside of the classroom, both as a platform integrating most features essential for journal paper writing, and as a teacher providing guidance and learning materials necessary for this specific genre. It is anticipated that this study will contribute to the knowledge base about both content and interface design for journal paper writing in the discipline of e-learning and education. For program designers of web-based writing tutorials, the involvement of users in the development of move structure could both strengthen various GBWI approaches and solve issues related to disciplinary differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-267
Number of pages18
JournalComputers and Education
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Sept

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Education
  • Social Sciences(all)


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