Topical structure analysis as an aid to the teaching of writing

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Linguistics

Subject Categories

Applied Linguistics


Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


English and Applied Linguistics

Thesis Adviser

Leonisa A. Mojica

Defense Panel Chair

Danilo T. Dayag

Defense Panel Member

Rochelle Irene G. Lucas
Leah E. Gustilo
Remedios Z. Miciano
Marilu R. Madrunio


With the utmost concern of helping students to become good writers, this study, which is informed by Lautamatti's (1987) framework of topical structure analysis, probed how college freshmen composed their essays.
This research highlights the designing of an intervention tool anchored on topical structure analysis using the process approach to teaching writing based on the qualitative and quantitative assessments of the students' pretest essays. The Writing Enrichment Booklet contained four parts: 1- Grammar 11- Coherence 111- The parts and elements of a composition and 1V- Topical development.
31 college freshmen of Southern Christian College, Midsayap, Cotabato, served as participants. Points investigated were the following: 1) distribution of the students' holistic ratings, 2) types of subjects found in the students' pretest and posttest essays, 3) types of topical progression revealed in the pretest and posttest, 4) patterns of topical progression dominant in the different categories both in the pretest and posttest essays, 5) percentages of pretest and posttest compositions that reflect considerations of readers'/audiences' needs and appropriate use of cohesive ties, 6) changes in the students' pretest and posttest essays in terms holistic ratings, types of subjects, topical progression , and topical focus/topical depth 7) effectiveness of the intervention tool.
Holistic analysis revealed two categories of pretest the average in coherence and low in coherence essays. Conversely, the posttest revealed highly coherent, average in coherence, and low in coherence essays. All essays contained mood subjects and topical subjects. The decrease in the number of mood subjects from the pretest to the posttest was found insignificant conversely, the increase in the number of topical subjects from the pretest to the posttest was found significant. Generally, all the participants employed parallel progression, sequential progression, extended parallel progression and extended sequential progression in developing their essays. In the pretest, parallel progression was mostly used by average-in-coherence and low-in-coherence groups. This type of topical development was also frequently used by highly coherent, average-in-coherence, and low-in-coherence groups in the posttest. Both in the pretest and posttest, all groups predominantly used parallel progression followed by sequential progression, extended parallel progression and extended sequential progression. Computation of percentages showed that the student writers manifested some consideration of the readers'/audiences' needs and use of cohesive ties. Explicitly, reference, conjunction, lexical cohesion, and substitution are commonly used with a noticeable increase on the number of occurrences from the pretest to the posttest. Reference was used most frequently, followed by additive conjunctions. Changes in terms of topical focus can be noted in the increase of topical subjects, use of parallel progression, and the reduced number of subtopics from the pretest to the posttest. As a whole, the teaching of coherence anchored on topical structure analysis, as contained in the designed Writing Enrichment Booklet, was found useful.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

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

Physical Description

1 computer optical disc ; 4 3/4 in


College freshmen; Writing--Study and teaching; Southern Christian College (Midsayap, Cotabato, Philippines)

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