Challenges and issues in academic writing: Perspectives from peer tutors
The Asian Journal of Applied Linguistics. Volume 5, Issue 1. March 2018


ppeer tutoring
peer tutor
academic writing
Hong Kong

How to Cite

Li, C., & Ngai, J. (2018). Challenges and issues in academic writing: Perspectives from peer tutors. The Asian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 5(1), 104-116. Retrieved from


Peer tutoring is not “a universal, undifferentiated and instant panacea” for improving teaching quality (Topping, 1996, p. 321). Yet it has its advantages and is widely used in higher education in a variety of formats whereby students serve as peer tutors and are “engaged as partners in teaching” (Stigmar, 2016, p. 124). Where peer tutoring in academic writing is concerned, previous research has mainly dealt with such aspects as effectiveness and formats (e.g., Adams, 2011; O’Sullivan & Cleary, 2014). Relatively less is known, however, about how peer tutors look at academic writing itself. This paper looks at the views of 39 peer tutors on academic writing. These tutors were recruited as part of a peer tutoring programme in a Hong Kong university. The data come from different sources, including tutoring log sheets, end-of-programme evaluation forms and semi-structured focus interviews. Preliminary results show that their participation in the programme has contributed to their thinking about academic writing issues. In particular, they were able to identify recurrent problems in their tutees’ academic writing and to develop ways of dealing with them. The research has implications for the teaching of academic writing in higher education