Research Projects

Project Description

Understanding the Internationalisation of Higher Education from the Student Perspective: A Longitudinal Examination of Disciplinary Literacies in English-medium education (SHIFT)

 

  • Research gap

In the past two decades, Higher Education institutions in non-Anglophone countries have experienced a huge shift to English-medium education (EME) in line with more general educational internationalisation. To date, however, the majority of EME research has been conducted on lecturers and their linguistic and pedagogical ability, and has somewhat overlooked students’ experiences and language needs, especially from a disciplinary perspective. 

  • What are the objectives of the project?

Against this background, this project aims to shift the focus to students, as key stakeholders in the process of internationalization and EME. A key objective of the project is to study in detail students’ understanding and development of the role of Disciplinary Literacies (DLs) in the specific context of Economics and Business Studies (EBS). The exploration of DLs in EME Business settings will address two major aspects (1) the materialised genres (disciplinary oral and written products) that EBS students engage with, and (2) the symbolic genres (disciplinary practices and habits) students gradually need to discover and use to become full members of the target discipline.

  • How to meet the objectives?

This longitudinal study will use a sequential multilevel mixed methods strategy where both stratified and purposive sampling techniques will coexist. The core participants for the data collection will be EME Business students and lecturers recruited from two European HE settings: Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), and Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU). The students will be followed throughout the completion of the whole degree, a four-year degree (240 ECTS) at UCM and a three-year degree (180 ECTS) at WU. This cross-site comparison will focus mainly on examining students (and lecturers’) views of DLs.

  • Where does innovation lie?

The main innovation of the SHIFT project lies in the explicit focus on the students and their development of Disciplinary Literacies (DLs) from a longitudinal perspective. In addition to this, the study is innovative in terms of: (1) The detailed focus on students and their development of Disciplinary Literacies (DLs) from a longitudinal perspective. (2) The conceptualisation of student DLs, as a complex, on-going process that combines both the mastery of materialised genres (i.e. written and oral products) and a discovery of the symbolic genres (i.e. disciplinary habits). (3) A cross-site comparison of students’ and lecturers’ views of DLs in two HEIs (UCM and WU). (4) The use of the conceptual framework known as ROAD-MAPPING (Dafouz & Smit, 2016, 2020) to holistically examine students’ DLs practices in EME. (5) The collaboration of content lecturers and linguists in the understanding and construction of DLs in the area of EBS. 

  • In a few words

This project focuses on the examination of students’ Disciplinary Literacies (DLs) in EME settings, shifting the focus to students, as key stakeholders in the process of internationalization and EME. Of specific interest to us are aspects related to the position of students as learners, both of academic content and of English; considerations that are lacking from the perspective of other stakeholders. This project aims to make progress on some of the international and interdisciplinary work conducted by the UCM research group and the INTE-R-LICA project (FFI2013-41235-R), both coordinated by Dr Emma Dafouz.