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Learning Assistance Review, v14 n1 p37-54 Spr 2009

The goal of this research was to use politeness theory to analyze the developing tutorial relationship between students and peer tutors in a university writing center. The study monitored two pairs of tutors and students over a period of six weeks, focusing on weeks one and six. Using partial transcripts of recorded sessions along with observation notes, the authors used discourse analysis to determine the significance of politeness in the functioning of the tutorial sessions. The authors concluded that in initial sessions, tutors use politeness strategies to shift between the collaborative role as peer and the authoritative role as tutor, relying more on negative politeness strategies, and after six weeks of recurring sessions, tutors rely less on negative politeness strategies and more on positive politeness strategies.

Descriptors: Discourse Analysis, Laboratories, Tutors, Peer Teaching, Writing (Composition), Linguistic Theory, Interaction Process Analysis, Language Patterns, Interpersonal Communication

National College Learning Center Association. Web site:

Autor: Bell, Diana Calhoun; Arnold, Holly; Haddock, Rebecca


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