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PhD Programme

Advice on PhD Programme

Students who intend to apply to the PhD programme are welcome to contact the Director, Dr Alessandro Benati (, for initial consultation on supervision and matters relating to topics of interest to pursue research in.


Current full-time PhD students

Chris Kwan (Kwan, Yu Hang)

Chris’ PhD research aims to yield a thick description of the discourse of face-to-face, peer-to-peer interactions in the context of university writing centre tutoring, drawing upon Bhatia’s (2017) multi-perspective approach to discourse analysis. It is hoped that the findings in this study can make a contribution to the current literature on writing centre theory and practice, and add to our understanding of the use of peer tutoring as an alternative approach to English language teaching at the tertiary level.


Najat H S D Alabdullah

Najat’s PhD research is an investigation on grammar acquisition by L2 and or L3 learners and how they select or detect forms in language comprehension. Furthermore, the research investigates the implicit mental representation of language; therefore, self-paced reading (SPR), which is an advanced on-line measurement, will be utilized to measure the participants accuracy in sentence processing and reaction times.  In fact, SPR is perceived as a tool that may reveal to researchers more about the learners’ implicit representation of language. Also, SPR will play a vital role in confirming the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of different language instruction methods on the learners’ language acquisition.


Some past graduates

Ivy Chan, A study of academic writing development over time: The case of Engineering undergraduates

Kim Chanhee, A corpus-based study on ‘evaluative that construction’ in academic and professional discourse

Aaron Doyle, The L2 motivation and academic decision making of local and international English majors in China

Andy Gao, From the Chinese Mainland to Hong Kong: Understanding shifts in Mainland Chinese students’ English learning strategy use

Ken Ho, Epistemic and rhetorical recontextualization in undergraduate Engineering writing: A text-informed investigation

Dick Huang, A corpus study of Chinese EFL majors’ phraseological performance.

Nora Hussin, Interaction from an activity theoretical perspective: Comparing learning discourse of language face-to-face, in chat and in audio conferencing in second language learning

Kevin Jiang, Metadiscursive nouns in disciplinary writing

Vivian Kwan, Academic discourse socialisation into the target disciplines: A multiple-case study of undergraduates from double-degree English teacher training programmes in Hong Kong

Ellie Law, Promoting learner autonomy through a self-access language learning (SALL) component of a taught English course

Tim Lee, The use and perception of second language motivational strategies at a Hong Kong community college

Laura Luo, Writing support for Chinese scientists seeking to publish research articles in English

Peter Wingrove, A corpus based analysis of TED talks and academic lectures

Greg Wu, Language teacher development in the English-in-the-Discipline courses: Bridging academic literacy, disciplinarity, and interdisciplinarity

Richard Zhang, Language choice, language ideologies, and identity: A sociolinguistic study of Mainland Chinese students in Hong Kong and Macao

Olivia Zhang, Engaging in feedback communication: Longitudinal ethnographic case studies of postgraduate writers in research supervision and writing processes

Victor Zhang, Student engagement with feedback on their writing: Case studies of English majors in two Chinese universities