The Use of Cohesion in Students’ Argumentative Writings

  • Nanta Hananta Indonesia University of Education
  • Didi Sukyadi Indonesia University of Education
Keywords: Cohesion, Writing Performances, Cohesive Devices


This research study aims at discovering the use of cohesion in students’ argumentative writings in terms of its frequency and function. Moreover, it also investigates whether or not there is a correlation between students’ knowledge on cohesion and their writing performances. The participants of the study are seventeen students of English Language and Literature study program at Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (UPI) who have learned how to compose argumentative writing as well as cohesion. To answer all research questions, this study  employs a mixed method research design embracing the characteristics of a case study approach. The data are obtained from students’ argumentative writings, their writing score, and a cohesion test. This research study is grounded by the framework of Cohesion Taxonomy proposed by Halliday and Hasan (1976), which is also a tool for analyzing students’ texts. Results reveal that grammatical cohesive devices—by the use of reference and conjunction as the dominant devices—are slightly more preferable to be used as cohesive resources than the lexical ones. Moreover, it is also found that cohesive devices generally have two major functions which are to
remind the readers of the points under discussion and to clarify and affirm semantic relationship between clauses so that the position of the author is clear. In addition, based on the analysis, it is also found that there is no significant correlation between students’ knowledge on cohesion and their writing performances. However, it does not conclusively justify that cohesion is unimportant in writing. Instead, it suggests that writing is a process and cohesion per se is not the determining factor, yet it is one of them. Furthermore, this study recommends that students should expand their repertoire both in vocabulary and sentence structure since the analyzed writings point to their heavy reliance on repetition device.