Dillon, et al.

The Use of Large Language Model Tools such as ChatGPT in Academic Writing in English Medium Education Postgraduate Programs: A Grounded Theory Approach

Anna Dillon, Emirates College for Advanced Education
Geraldine Chell, University of Turku
Nusaibah Al Ameri, Emirates College for Advanced Education
Nahla Alsayed, Emirates College for Advanced Education
Yusra Salem, Emirates College for Advanced Education
Moss Turner, Independent
Kay Gallagher, Emirates College for Advanced Education



This paper shares the reflections of a small group of graduate students and faculty members in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the challenges and affordances of using large language model (LLM) tools to assist with academic writing in an English Medium Education (EME) context. The influence of interpretive grounded theory afforded the authors the opportunity to engage with emerging data from a focus group interview. Ethical issues including academic integrity and maturity formed a major theme of this study, as well as the future-thinking affordances of LLMs in facilitating and democratizing academic writing for all, including those in EME programs. Considering that LLMs are here to stay and will be used by students and faculty alike, the authors consider that the nature of assessment is likely to change and indeed will require higher education institutions to consider the types of assessments in place, with a view to potentially modifying them in light of these technological advances. We recommend the use of deeply personalized, critically reflective writing assignments where students demonstrate how the topic has meaning in their individual context and personal life story, that will ensure academic integrity and maturity while still embracing these new technologies to widen the scope of academic writing.

Keywords: large language models, ChatGPT, English Medium Education, academic writing, grounded theory, academic integrity

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