Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education


Department of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Janet Deck

Second Advisor

Dr. James Anderson

Third Advisor

Dr. Mackenzie V. Johnson


The primary purpose of this qualitative narrative study was to explore the lived experiences of international PhD students who used academic English literacy during their research for their theses/dissertations. The second purpose of this study was to identify ways international PhD students mitigated academic language challenges for their theses/dissertations. This qualitative narrative study was founded on the theoretical framework of constructivism and sociocultural theory created by Vygotsky. The research participants were three L2 international PhD students who lived in America while conducting research for their dissertations or theses. Video recorded semi-structured interviews were conducted with all participants to gather rich, detailed information about their lived experiences, while using academic English literacy and conversational English. Data collected from the interviews were transcribed, verified for accuracy from the participants, coded and analyzed to determine emergent themes. The two themes of this study were conversational English and academic English literacy. Findings from this study suggested that domestic and international universities should provide English speaking and literacy supports for L2 students.