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The book Muiris Ó Laoire (2004) reviewed is entitled Sociolinguistics: A resource book for students (Stockwell, 2002). The overall structure of this review is conventional, starting with a brief introduction, then a comprehensive summary, and finally some evaluative comments. However, there is no conclusion section in this review, which makes it a bit unconventional. The whole review adopts present tense consistently throughout with scattered inversions and unreal conditionals to mitigate the critisim. For example, “... some of the texts could be daunting .... were it not for ....” (Ó Laoire, 2004, p. 282); “the inclusion of a glossary of terms would also have been useful” (Ó Laoire, 2004, p. 283). This book review also connects sociolinguistics with other disciplinaries, such as discourse, bilingualism, etc., to assist readers to map out a broader picture of sociolinguistics. Moreover, a couple of directed quates from Stockwell’s (2002) are used to support the reviwer’s evaluative comments (see Ó Laoire, 2004, pp. 280-281). However, there are no extra texts referenced in reviewing this book. The summary is the main component of this book review. Ó Laoire (2004) summarized it section by section. Nevertheless, the content of each section is in disproportion. As section A and C are very concise, while section B and D are rather spreading out. The language of the summary is objective and succinct, and limited neutral verbs are used for statement clarification (such as “explains” on p. 281). The evaluative comments of this book review are mostly positive with a few negative ones. The most commonly used positive adjectives are ‘interesting’, ‘helpful’ and ‘useful, and the words of critique include ‘unlikely’, ‘struggle’, and ‘regrettably’. In addition, the concessive contrast technique is adopted in the evaluative comments. Among which, ‘however’ is most frequently taken advantage of. All in all, hedges, boosters, attitude markers and engagement markers have been employed to make the review in a smooth flow. (315 words) References
Ó Laoire, M. (2004). Review of the book Sociolinguistics: A resource book for students by P. Stockwell. Applied Linguistics, 25(2), 279-283. doi:10.1093/applin/25.2.279
Stockwell, P. (2002). Sociolinguistics: A resource book for students. New York, NY: Routledge.

PALTRIDGE, B. & STARFIELD, S. (2007). Thesis and Dissertation Writing in a Second Language: A Handbook for Supervisors. London: Routledge. 189 pages. ISBN: 0-203-96081-5

Reviewed by Peijian Sun, PhD student, University of Auckland

For supervisors who are struggling with supervising English as a second language (ESL) learners’ academic writing, Thesis and Dissertation Writing in a Second Language (Paltridge & Starfield, 2007) could be a helpful and practical guidance. By discussing common issues and revealing assumed knowledge in thesis and dissertation writing, this book seeks to solve the challenges that ESL students might encounter in the process of writing and also to alleviate the burdens that supervisors could experience in supervising ESL students. Even though there are 12 charters in this book, they are effectively organized via a top-down method, which I assume would be more beneficial for readers’ mind mapping of what makes a good thesis or dissertation.

In the first three chapters of this book, key issues of particular relevance to ESL writers have been examined, such as the effect of cross-cultural issues and writer identity on thesis/dissertation writing; the strategies for supervisors to establish a satisfactory relationship with their ESL students; the impact of emotional, behavioral, rhetorical and social issues on ESL students’ writing engagement and production; the importance of keeping the notion of audience in mind; and the difficulty of establishing an appropriate academic ‘voice’ in writing. Through the explicit discussion and literature review on these issues, supervisors and ESL writers would have a better understanding of the impact of these potential contributing factors on thesis/dissertation writing. Given the remarkable opening chapters, it is surprising to note that the ‘overview of the book’ section in Chapter 1 does not overview the whole book, but just chapter 1 and 2. Moreover, as an ESL reader I think it would be more appropriate and eye-catching if the title of Chapter 3 could be modified to ‘contributing issues in ESL students’ thesis/dissertation writing’.

In Chapter 4 and 5, the authors explore two important issues in thesis/dissertation writing: research proposal and the overall shape of theses/dissertations. Questions such as how to choose a research topic, how to develop a research proposal, how to distinguish theses from dissertations, and what types of structure are common in writing are deeply examined in order to provide supervisors with efficient help in guiding students. In addition, a crucial concept (meta-text/meta-discourse) is introduced as to help students to make good links among different sections in writing, which is extensively discussed in later chapters. I personally adore the two chapters, because they serve as good lead-ins for writers to lay out a solid and good foundation for their thesis writing.

In the rest chapters, the authors guide readers through each detailed part in thesis/dissertation writing, including abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, results and conclusion. Particular attention is paid to methodology, as the ambiguity between methodology and methods is common among students. Stance (hedges, boosters, attitude markers, self-mentions) and engagement (reader pronouns, personal asides, directives, questions, etc.) strategies are broadly addressed through out these chapters. Concrete strategies and steps are offered as handy navigation for writers to organize the discussion chapter writing, as this chapter writing may be one of the major concerns both for ESL writers and supervisors (Bitchener & Basturkman, 2006). On top of that, some useful resources are provided at the end of the book for supervisors’ reference. Even though I enjoy reading the rest chapters, I think it would be better if some particular supervision cases for supervisors’ reference could be presented, and the co-supervision could be discussed in the rest chapters (since co-supervision is common nowadays).

One distinctive and user-friendly feature of this book that I have observed is the ‘applications’ in the end of every section. It provokes both supervisors’ and ESL students’ thoughts on the common issues discussed in each section. One little critique to this book is that it overlooks superviosrs who are ESL speakers themselves. In brief, there is no doubt that, with increasing numbers of ESL students pursuing masters or doctorates overseas (Nilsson & Anderson, 2004), this book certainly will be useful and handy for supervisors in guiding ESL learners through their thesis/dissertation journey.

(663 words) References
Bitchener, J., & Basturkmen, H. (2006). Perceptions of the difficulties of postgraduate L2 thesis students writing the discussion section. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 5(1), 4-18. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2005.10.002
Nilsson, J. E., & Anderson, M. Z. (2004). Supervising International Students: The Role of Acculturation, Role Ambiguity, and Multicultural Discussions. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 35(3), 306-312. doi:10.1037/0735-7028.35.3.306
Paltridge, B., & Starfield, S. (2007). Thesis and Dissertation Writing in a Second Language: A Handbook for Supervisors. London: Routledge.

References: Bitchener, J., & Basturkmen, H. (2006). Perceptions of the difficulties of postgraduate L2 thesis students writing the discussion section. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 5(1), 4-18. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2005.10.002 Nilsson, J. E., & Anderson, M. Z. (2004). Supervising International Students: The Role of Acculturation, Role Ambiguity, and Multicultural Discussions. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 35(3), 306-312. doi:10.1037/0735-7028.35.3.306 Paltridge, B., & Starfield, S. (2007). Thesis and Dissertation Writing in a Second Language: A Handbook for Supervisors. London: Routledge.

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