The development and use of cohesive devices in L2 writing and their relations to judgments of essay quality

Scott A. Crossley, Kristopher Kyle, Danielle S. McNamara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


An important topic in writing research has been the use of cohesive features. Much of this research has focused on local and text cohesion. The few studies that have studied global cohesion have been restricted to first language writing. This study investigates the development of local, global, and text cohesion in the writing of 57 s language (L2) university students and examines the effects of these cohesion types on judgments of L2 writing quality Growth is observed in the use of a number of local, global, and text cohesive features across a semester-long upper-level English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course. Local, global, and text features also predicted whether an essay was written at the beginning or the end of the semester with an accuracy of 71%. In addition, the use of local, global, and text cohesive features explains 36% of the variance in human judgments of text cohesion and 42% of the variance in overall judgments of writing quality. This study has important implications for second language acquisition, writing development, and writing pedagogy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Second Language Writing
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by the Institute for Education Sciences ( IES R305A080589 and IES R305G20018-02 ). Ideas expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the IES. We also thank Charlene Polio and Jeff Connor-Linton for organizing the 2012 Georgetown University Round Table focusing on the data used in this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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