Developing Academic Writing in Doctoral Study

Interviewer: Mary Dinh

Interviewee: Elaine Friedman

Elaine Friedman had been a professional editor for doctoral students for years before joining the doctoral program at ETAP.

Her dissertation also focuses on the developmental trajectories of doctoral students whose first language is not English. As an English instructor herself, Elaine knew how language production in the second language is much governed by first language ways of thinking and writing. Hence, even though she did not know the language, she could offer some scaffolding to intervene and help them enhance their understanding about writing conventions and articulation in English.

Effective writing is a skill that is grounded in the cognitive domain as well. It involves explicit structured learning about linguistic expressions, comprehension, application and synthesis of new knowledge. Elaine gave some tips about writing accuracy, clarify, and readability. She also mentioned the benefits of having a professional editor as peer mentor when it comes to dissertation writing.

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A full episode of our interview – “Navigating First Years of PhD” can be found at:

Written by Mary Dinh (

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