Students’ navigation of the uncharted territories of academic writing
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Many students enter tertiary education unfamiliar with the ‘norms and conventions’ of their disciplines. Research into academic literacies has shown that in order to succeed in their studies, students are expected to conform to these norms and conventions, which are often unrecognized or seen as ‘common sense’ by lecturers. Students have to develop their own ‘map’ of their programme’s expectations in order to make sense of the seemingly mysterious practices they are expected to take on. This study, undertaken at a University of Technology in South Africa, details students’ perceptions of their writing difficulties and their attempts to navigate their way through various writing tasks. The findings reveal that students experience a range of difficulties and that the students often feel unsupported in their travails with academic writing.