Approaches for Deviant English Competence Repair in Written Research Proposals at a Rural-Based University

Farisani Thomas Nephawe


Research proposals are the main benchmark for assessing postgraduate students' competence in different disciplines at a university. Nevertheless, writing a research proposal in the English language can be a daunting challenge for both students and their supervisors if they lack grammatical mastery of the language usage. The paper investigated Honours English students’ grammatical competence in their written research proposals. A qualitative research approach was followed because it provides an in-depth understanding of the research topic. Data were collected using students' written research proposals presented in the 2022 academic year in the Department of English, Media Studies and Linguistics at the University of Venda in Limpopo Province, South Africa. A document analysis was used to obtain insights from students' use of English grammar in their written proposals. Three purposively selected students’ written research proposals were scrutinized based on the researcher’s preference. Preliminary and final investigations both revealed students’ deviant English competence. Nevertheless, after employing the 'Humanistic approach-based didactic strategy for rural-based students’ and ‘Discourse-based grammar approach’, research proposal writers’ performance improved preternaturally. Therefore, it is high time that students adhered to the guidelines and procedures for composing an informed research proposal paper.

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