Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Gloria Park, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Sharon K. Deckert, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Lilia P. Savova, Ph.D.


This study examines academic literacy socialization and the construction of academic identities by seven multilingual students in a mandatory research seminar course in a Japanese university. The main purpose of this research is to explore how the students attempt to engage in the development of academic literacy using the English scholarly texts and construct their academic identities. In order to explore academic discourse socialization and identity construction of the research participants, a qualitative case study approach was utilized. In this study, the primary data, the participants' weekly journals, were crystallized by using additional data from multiple sources such as: students' literacy autobiographies in English, final positionality narratives, course blog posts, individual interviews, and a form focus group interview. The seven multilinguals began to negotiate the meanings of the English disciplinary discourses adopting their own strategies at the initial stage of the semester. Through various experiences of examining the academic discourses, socializing with peers had a beneficial influence upon the development of academic literacy. Especially, mutual interactions with peers inside and outside the classroom contributed to a deeper understanding of the disciplinary discourses and facilitated active participation in the discourse community. Although initiation into the specialized community brought about peripheral participation and a power imbalance, interactions guided by more capable peers advocated the importance of the shared value of the professional knowledge. Academic identities were co-constructed by serving various roles to peers and gaining the sense of belonging to the discourse community. To cultivate the expertise in academics became advantageous to the construction of academic identities; however the lack of knowledge and limited interactions remained focused on becoming the English language learners. The findings obtained from the cases of each participant have a critical impact and shed light on the studies of academic literacy and discourse socialization in different contexts. This study discusses implications for teaching of and research on academic literacy socialization in various learning settings.