Topical structure analysis as basis for evaluating coherence in student writing and for developing self-learning materials to teach coherence in written discourse

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Arts in Language and Literature Major in English


College of Liberal Arts



Thesis Adviser

Carreon, Edwina

Defense Panel Chair

Sinha, Aum

Defense Panel Member

Ablaza, Christina
Verzosa, Guillermina


This is a study of discourse coherence in student compositions of Filipino freshmen college students in the school of education of Southern Luzon Polytechnic College in Quezon Province. This description-and-treatment study used a one-group pre-test post-test design with the self-learning materials as treatment. The study involved writing paragraphs by one Freshman English class composed of 40 first-year education students. It presented two sets of coherence profiles: the first as basis for evaluating coherence in student writing and for developing self-learning lessons to enable students to improve their own writing and the second as basis for evaluating improvement after use of these self-learning materials. The self-learning materials covered 12 lessons, each lesson equivalent to a half-hour session. Use of the materials was controlled to an extent by the researcher's presence in class when the students studied them. The development of coherence profiles was based on topical structure analysis of the paragraphs. Procedure for analysis of the paragraphs involved the steps in doing topical structure analysis. In addition, an English Instructor (not the students' Freshman English instructor) was asked to evaluate the paragraphs using the holistic rating system to find out whether the holistic or global evaluation and the topical structure analysis are congruent. The findings of the study showed that: 1) The students involved in the study showed a tendency to elaborate on a given topic by referring to it through the use of pronouns and repeated words. 2) They learned to equate focusing on the topic with placing the topical subjects at the beginning of sentences, resulting in the construction of sentences in which initial sentence element, grammatical subject and topical subject coincide. This is advantageous because it facilitates text comprehension. 3) They used parallel and extended parallel progressions predominantly in their paragraphs, and such is also advantageous for this results in a strong topic focus. 4

Abstract Format




Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

194 leaves ; 28 cm.


Linguistic analysis (Linguistics); English language -- Writing.; English language -- Composition and exercises -- Ability testing.; Grammar, Comparative and general.; Students -- Writing.; Southern Luzon Polytechnic College -- Students.

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