After having been marginalized for a long time as a second-class genre or “the poor country cousin of papers” (Swales & Feak, 2000), academic posters have recently received remarkable attention as a special multimodal genre that is indispensable for the membership of the academic community. In line with the currently growing interest in multimodal writing, the present study seeks to contribute to the limited body of knowledge on academic posters in two ways: first by investigating the textual and visual communicative strategies employed by novice multimodal writers to facilitate the comprehension of their multimodal texts and guide readers through their discourse and second by exploring the perceptions of those young multimodal writers towards that special genre. To accomplish the first objective, a corpus of 100 academic posters gathered from freshmen university students enrolled in a second language research writing course was compiled and analyzed textually and visually drawing mainly on the framework of D’Angelo (2016a) that distinguishes between interactive and interactional resources. To fulfill the second objective, a questionnaire was filled out by 66 students, and four interviews were carried out. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used in the analysis. Descriptive statistics was employed in the multimodal analysis of the posters as well as the analysis of the questionnaire responses, and a qualitative thematic analysis was conducted to interpret the responses of the interviewees. The quantitative textual and visual analysis revealed a clear dominance of the interactive resources and, to some extent, a lack of making the best use of all the available visual resources. The analysis of the self-reported data unveiled that young multimodal writers hold quite positive perceptions towards the academic poster as a multimodal genre. Further, they tended to decode the interrelation between textual and visual resources as an illustrative or code mixing relationship where both text and visuals complement each other to communicate the intended meaning. The study has pedagogical implications relevant to introducing novice multimodal writers to the available semiotic resources.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Applied Linguistics Department

Degree Name

MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Graduation Date

Spring 5-25-2021

Submission Date


First Advisor

Atta Gebril

Committee Member 1

Yasmine Salah El-Din

Committee Member 2

Nihal Sarhan


157 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item