Assessment of Coherence in Narrative and Persuasive Compositions
AN ASSESSMENT ON COHERENCE IN THENARRATIVE AND PERSUASIVE COMPOSITIONSBarabas, Cris D.Burdeos, Jeanne Roujette R.Opina, Kenneth G.
FRAMEWORK OF THE STUDY Strid’s (1998) Coherence in the Narrativeand Persuasive Writing of Adolescents Halliday and Hasan’s System for Analyzingand Classifying Cohesive Ties in Witte andFaigley (1981) Bamberg’s Holistic Scale of Coherence inStrid (1998)
THE PROBLEMThis study aimed to assess the coherence in the narrativeand persuasive compositions of selected AdvancedComposition (English 101) students of the University of SanCarlos.Specifically, this study sought to answer the followingquestions:1. What are the cohesive markers used in the selectedcompositions of the student-participants?1.1 Reference1.2 Substitution1.3 Ellipsis1.4 Conjunction1.5 Lexical reiteration and collocation
THE PROBLEM2. How are the cohesive markers used to achievecoherence in the write-ups?3. How does genre affect the coherence level ofcompositions based on Bamberg’s Holistic CoherenceScale?4. What is the relevance of educational attainment orbackground on achieving coherence in compositions?
METHODOLOGYResearch Design This study used the descriptive quantitative type of research.Research Environment Advanced Composition classroom at the University of SanCarlos-Main CampusResearch Participants 10 Advanced Composition students randomly selected 5 graduate level students (LLB) 5 undergraduate level studentsResearch Instruments Halliday and Hasan’s System for Analyzing and ClassifyingCohesive Ties in Witte and Faigley (1981) Bamberg’s Holistic Scale of Coherence in Strid (1998)
METHODOLOGYResearch Procedure Student-participants were randomly selectedfrom the 25 Advanced Composition students. Narrative and persuasive compositions writtenby the students were collected by theresearchers. The compositions were analyzed based on thecohesive markers using Halliday and Hasan’sSystem for Analyzing and Classifying CohesiveTies and coherence using Bamberg’s HolisticScale of Coherence.
TABLE 1. FREQUENCY OF USED COHESIVE MARKERS IN THE COMPOSITIONSCohesive MarkersFrequencyTotal Percentage(%)Narrative PersuasiveReference 36 142 178 35.5Substitution 16 24 40 8Ellipsis 0 0 0 0Conjunction 99 183 282 56.1Lexical Reiterationand Collocation0 2 2 0.4TOTAL 151 351 502 100
USE OF COHESIVE MARKERS ON ACHIEVING COHERENCE Cohesive markers were used to create cohesionat the sentential level and eventually produceda unified whole paragraph: Conjunctions – created logical ties across sentencesas well as connecting ideas from the initial to thesucceeding paragraphs within a composition Reference – used in the compositions to refer tothe same idea or person previously mentioned inthe preceding sentences or paragraphs to avoidconstant repetition of the word Substitution – used to avoid redundancy
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS Conjunctions, reference, and substitution, respectively,were the commonly used type of cohesive markers inthe narrative and persuasive compositions of thestudent-participants. Cohesive markers were used in the compositions tocreate a logical connection between sentences andparagraphs. Persuasive compositions had more cohesive markersused than in the narrative compositions. Persuasive compositions were more coherent thannarrative compositions. Graduate students produced more coherent outputs ,both narrative and persuasive, compared to theundergraduate student-participants.
CONCLUSIONS Cohesive markers, particularly conjunctions are used inorder to create a logical connection of ideas betweensentences and paragraphs The use of cohesive markers aid in creating a coherentpiece as thoughts are properly aligned and tied since theformer is a sub-element of the latter. Persuasive compositions are more coherent thannarrative compositions due to the increase in the use ofcohesive markers in the former than the latter. Writers with higher educational attainment producemore coherent outputs since they have more exposurein writing compositions. Furthermore, constant use ofthe language in writing hones the skills necessary inachieving coherence.
RECOMMENDATIONS There is a need for writing instructors to give emphasis onusing cohesive ties in their discussions with referencespecifically on how to use the cohesive markers presented inthe earlier part of this study. A constant follow-up on the students’ progress on producingcohesive outputs is also recommended as well as peer editing. Writing can also be incorporated in grammar courses so thatwriting skills will be honed together with grammar skills. The researchers suggest that Bamberg’s Holistic Scale ofCoherence be developed into a textual-schematic form or ananalytical rubric type of scale to make it more detailed. A replication of the same study can be conducted with researchparticipants taken from non-writing classes. A similar study can also be conducted with English majors asstudent-participants to check if there is really a significantdifference from the writing outputs of non-English majors.
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