Quality of Iranian EFL Learners’ Argumentative Essays: Cohesive Devices in Focus
Abstract The ability to compose a piece of argumentative text is important for EFL and ESL learners. Despite its importance, there is a gap in the literature about how Iranian students write essays in this genre that this study intends to fill.
Building upon Halliday and Hasan's (1976) cohesion theory, this study intended to investigate Iranian graduate non-English majors' use of cohesive devices in argumentative essays, and also the relationship between the number of cohesive devices and writing quality. An analysis of forty
argumentative essays written by forty Iranian graduate non-English majors showed that the students were familiar with various cohesivedevices and used them in their writings. Among the cohesive devices used lexical devices had the largest percentage of the total number of cohesive devices, followed by reference devices and conjunction devices. Furthermore, it was found that there was no significant relationshipbetween the number of cohesive devices used and quality of writing. The findings of the study have some important implications for EFL writing teachers and learners.
Keywords: Argumentative essays- cohesive features- Iranian EFL learners