The official website of educator Jack C Richards

Constrastive Analysis


Submitted by Eliana Santos de Souza, Brazil

How do you do contrastive analysis of the written texts ( first draft, second draft or revising, and editing) produced by students in the process writing in EFL?

Professor Richards Responds:

Contrastive analysis has no role to play here.  If you wish to see how a student has modified a piece of wiritng during the different stages of the composition process, then you should look at the different aspects of writing that are involved. The different kinds of knowledge and skills learners need to acquire to become effective writers are summarised by Ken Hyland (Second Language Writing: Cambridge University Press 2003) as follows:

  • Content knowledge: How can topics for writing activities be chosen? Can students be involved in selecting topics to write about? And do students have the necessary background knowledge to write about topics they may choose or be asked to write about?
  • System knowledge: How will grammar be used to support their writing needs? What areas of grammar will be most useful to them?
  • Process knowledge: How will students get ideas and information to use in writing? Will they make use of the internet, group discussion, library research, etc.?
  • Genre and text knowledge: What kinds of texts will students learn to write? Do they need to improve their skill in composing particular kinds of texts, such as essays, business letters or reports? How will students become aware of the principle of organization underlying different types of writing, such as recounts, descriptions or business letters?
  • Context knowledge: How will students develop awareness of the influences on the writing context for the type of writing they engage in, as well as awareness of cultural factors that affect expectations about the nature of appropriate written texts?