Returning to Graduation Project: Attitudes and Perceived Challenges of Students and Staff at a Libyan EFL Department





Journal title

Arab World English Journal


Vol. 3 No. 11


ٌٌReda Elmabruk


127 - 148


In 1997, the Department of English (Faculty of Languages, University of Tripoli) canceled Graduation Project (GP) as a graduation requirement primarily due to growing student plagiarism. Two decades on, the Department decided it is time for Returning to Graduation Project (RGP). In preparation for this, a Research Methods (RM) module was delivered to students, and an intense ‘research design and methodology’ course was taken by the staff. In this exploratory mixed-methods case-study research, the main question focuses on attitudes and perceived challenges facing students and staff concerning RGP. The aim is to tackle negative attitudes and perceived obstacles in anticipation of a successful RGP, which spells out the significance of the research. Data were collected through a questionnaire (n=52) and a focus group discussion with seventh-semester students (10); semi-structured interviews with staff (13). A small majority of students (54%) supported RGP; the remaining 46% raised two kinds of concerns: realistic challenges of lacking resources, inadequate RM skills, and supervisor issues; unrealistic challenges involved time constraints, fear of presenting, and problems of determining research topics. Staff members were receptive to RGP but raised numerous concerns. Whereas experienced members expressed cynicism due to low students competencies and lacking resources, others saw RGP as an opportunity for students to gain practical research experience ahead of postgraduate study. Several challenges were perceived, chief among them are students lack of research skills, inexperienced supervisors, inadequate resources, and an ever-lasting concern with plagiarism. New staff reported the need for tuition in ‘data analysis and interpretation’, and ‘supervision practice’. Peculiarities characteristic of the case milieu emerged. arabic 18 English 99

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