Difficulties of Summarizing and Paraphrasing in English as a Foreign Language (EFL): Saudi Graduate Students’ Perspectives

Arwa O. Alaofi

Abstract


This study examined the major challenges that graduate students ordinarily encounter when it comes to summarizing and paraphrasing source texts. Drawing upon a qualitative methodology, nine Saudi students who were pursuing their graduate degrees in various disciplines have been interviewed. The study findings have shown that various sources of impediments could aggravate students' difficulties in the skills under investigation. These were: Students' inadequate level of English proficiency as the first area to cause difficulties in summarizing and paraphrasing source texts, problems pertaining to students' writing styles as the second, and third, poor reading comprehension skills. However, multiple listening to the interviews and careful analysis of the transcripts produced for these revealed that the challenges faced by students in summarizing and paraphrasing could be enhanced by a further important factor that feed into students struggles with these skills, that is, fear of committing plagiarism. Constantly being in doubt whether the paraphrases that they produce are legitimized or not makes the process of paraphrasing even harder for them. Possible strategies to cope with these difficulties are also provided in this study. The findings presented in this study add to our understanding of the challenges that writing in an academic genre poses for graduate students. Furthermore, these findings send important practical implications for decision-makers in higher studies institutions. 


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijele.v8i2.17788

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