Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Teaching English as a Second Language/Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Tammy Slater


Utilizing a textual analysis from a systemic functional linguistic perspective, this exploratory discourse analysis investigates the cohesive resources and thematic development involved in three effective and three ineffective persuasive impromptu speeches. The organizational and structural aspects of the assessment rubric used in evaluating these speeches are analyzed as well in an effort to connect examples in the language of the speeches to the more vague and abstract descriptors of the rubric. Key findings show that the effective persuasive impromptu speeches better involve cohesive resources than the ineffective ones particularly with reference, lexical cohesion, and conjunction. The ineffective persuasive impromptu speeches used more resources of certain types of cohesive devices; however, some of these resources were not used appropriately or as successfully as in the sample of effective speeches. Implications for teachers and rubric designers include (1) the importance of deliberate choices of cohesive language to appropriately signal the relationships between ideas, which can be brought into the classroom to promote successful thematic development and organization; (2) the potential value in using examples in rater training to illustrate differences in levels of achievement; and (3) the potential need to reconsider subjective assessment rubric descriptors to allow students and instructors to maximize their potential in performing and in providing feedback.


Copyright Owner

Jeremy Lockwood



File Format


File Size

106 pages

Included in

Linguistics Commons