Topical Structure Analysis: Assessing First-Year Egyptian University Students’ Internal Coherence of Their EFL Writing

  • Noha Omaya Shabana


This chapter discusses the use of Topical Structure Analysis (TSA) in assessing the internal coherence of ESL/EFL students’ essays. It assesses students’ essay writings by specifically examining the internal topical structure and its three basic elements: parallel, sequential, and extended parallel progressions. The chapter reports on a study that examines the TSA of 25 argumentative essays written by first-year university students in Arab Academy for Science and Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) in Egypt. The repetition of keywords and phrases is investigated using Lautamatti’s framework for the TSA. The findings of the study reveal that most students employed the parallel progression in developing their topics (37.26%), followed by sequential progression (35.62%), while extended parallel progression was the least employed (27.12%). These findings suggest that EFL students find difficulty in achieving coherence because of their poor lexical resources as EFL learners. It is recommended that instructors use the TSA as a strategy to assess and teach both intermediate and advanced academic writing courses. Consequently, the students’ familiarity with the TSA would contribute to enhancing coherence in their written essays.


Topical structure analysis Assessing coherence EFL writing Argumentative essays 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noha Omaya Shabana
    • 1
  1. 1.German University in Cairo (GUC)CairoEgypt

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