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Conference Proceeding

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This conference paper was originally published as:

Howson, K., & Fitzsimmons, P. (2017, May 3-5). Accounting students and their writing skills: Inside-outside autoethnographic reflection. Paper presented at the Accounting Education Special Interests Group (SIG) Annual Conference, Cardiff, Wales.


130103 Higher Education| 150199 Accounting, Auditing and Accountability not elsewhere classified

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This paper seeks to report on the findings of a qualitative research project that sought to illuminate one cohort of accounting students understanding and approach to writing. The first in a planned series of projects, this particular research instance used the paradigmatic framework of an authoethnographic bricolage as a reflexive tool so as to gain entrée into this cohort’s awareness. What emerged from this ‘inside-outside’ methodology or ‘research into self’, ‘research through self’ and ‘research on self’ was the apparent tension between the requirements of tertiary writing and the ‘contexts of culture’ and ‘context of situation’ of the accounting cohort. This tension appears to have arisen as these students’ previous contexts of education were grounded in didactic teaching and learning with the possibility that critical thinking and reading-writing connections were absent. Thus, these students were unable to make semiotic transfers between the various forms of genres and registers required by a university class, and possibly the requirements of twenty-first century accountancy. It would appear that while proficient in the technicalities required by pre-service accountants, as they had never experienced a learning environment that required meta-awareness and meta-cognitive interactions, they focused only on surface features of writing, as opposed to using writing as a means of ‘rendering and connecting thought’.


Used by permission: the authors

© 2017 Keith Howson and Phil Fitzsimmons