ALANZ invites Masters and PhD graduates who have completed and passed their thesis to enter the Best Thesis competition.

In order to reward excellence and provide greater visibility for new researchers, each year, ALANZ awards prizes for the best Master’s and PhD theses in Applied Linguistics examined and awarded in the previous year in New Zealand. Each university may nominate one candidate for each category. Nominations are called early in the year and a panel of judges from New Zealand universities will be appointed to choose the successful candidate. If you wish your thesis to be considered, please contact your supervisor, or the head of applied linguistics department in the university that awarded your degree.

The prize awarded is:

  1. Master’s Thesis – $200; one year’s membership for the Applied Linguistics Association of New Zealand; an invitation to submit an article for publication in New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics and to be mentored towards its eventual publication.
  2. PhD Thesis – $500; one year’s membership for the Applied Linguistics Association of New Zealand; an invitation to submit an article for publication in New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics and to be mentored towards its eventual publication.


Current Winners

Winners of the 2021 ALANZ Thesis Competition

Alena Shannaq’s (AUT) thesis, “Investigating How and When International First-Year Second Language Undergraduate Students Deal with Academic Literacies Challenges in the Early 21st Century: A Longitudinal Case Study”, has been awarded the prize for best PhD thesis of 2021 by the Applied Linguistics Association of New Zealand (ALANZ). View Dr Shannaq’s presentation on YouTube.

The judges wrote:

The thesis reports a longitudinal study of the experiences of four undergraduate international students that is most impressive in its scope and the quality of its analysis. It gives new insight into the struggles such students face in meeting the assessment requirements in their first-year courses, as well as offering a compelling critique of existing practices to support their academic literacy needs. It represents applied research at its best.

Past Winners

  PhD Ahmed Awad Tayel’s (Otago University) research into ‘Teacher Cognition in EFL Teaching:  A Study of Non-Native English-Speaking Teachers of English for Arabic-Speaking Students in Egypt with a Particular Focus on Vocabulary
  Master’s Shannon Couper’s  (Victoria University) thesis entitled ‘The power of pleasure: Contributions from embodied Sociolinguistics
  PhD Ahmed Kamal Junina, AUT University, Investigating Academic Literacy Challenges on Undergraduate Programmes: A Focus on Arabic-Speaking Students in New Zealand
  Master’s Rowan Gardiner, Massey University, Weeaboo Japanese: Exploring English-Japanese language-mixing in online Japanese popular culture fandom
  PhD Fahd Hamad A Alqasham, Massey University, Virtual social network-mediated English language learning in a Saudi tertiary EFL context: Innovation and agency
  Master’s Elisha Gordon, the University of Otago, University Study Abroad in New Zealand: Identity, Ideology, and Investment in English Language Learning
  PhD PhD Thi Ngoc Yen Dang, Victoria University of Wellington, Investigating vocabulary in academic spoken English: Corpora, teachers, and learners
  Master’s Susanne Aldrich, Massey University, Students’ and Teachers’ Perceptions of the Use of Mobile Technology in University Preparation Classes
  Master’s Randa Saleh Maine Alharbi, AUT University, Responses of Female Non-native Speakers to English Compliments: A Cross-generational Study of Saudi Arabian University Students and Lecturers
  PhD Pham Huy Cuong, Massey University, An ecological perspective on the motivational trajectories of high school students learning English in rural areas in Vietnam
  Master’s Yulia Khan, Auckland University of Technology, Adult migrant English education policy in Aotearoa New Zealand 2002-2014
  PhD Scott Aubrey, University of Auckland, Effect of inter-cultural contact on L2 motivation and L2 learning: A process-product study
  Master’s Geraldine Anne McCarthy, Massey University, Living and learning in New Zealand: Perceptions of Bhutanese students, parents and teachers of their learning process
  PhD Sara Amani, University of Auckland, Metacognitive strategy instruction and pre-task planning: Impact on L2 argumentative writing ability
  Master’s Rebecca White, Victoria University of Wellington, Adolescent writing, insights from the classroom: An L1 vocabulary development study
  PhD Dawn Booth, University of Auckland, Exploring the washback of the TOEIC in South Korea
  Master’s Rachel Hamlin, Massey University, Marking time: Is there a differential effect on written accuracy following focused or unfocused written corrective feedback
  PhD Long V Nguyen, Massey University, Computer-mediated collaborative learning in a Vietnamese tertiary EFL context: Process, product, and learners’ perceptions
  Master’s Jo Oranje, Otago University, Culture in the classroom of ESL learners: A case study of how culture is represented in the lessons of ESL children at a New Zealand mainstream primary school
  PhD Yiqian (Katherine) Cao (University of Auckland)
  Master’s Susan K. Ruffell (Victoria University of Wellington)
  PhD Gillian Skyrme (Massey University)
  Master’s Seung Hee Pak (University of Auckland)
  PhD Sun Hee Ok Kim (University of Auckland)
  Master’s Judy Jen-Pei Chai (University of Auckland)
  PhD Naashia Mohamed (University of Auckland)
  Master’s Dawn Booth (University of Auckland)
  PhD Martin East (University of Auckland)
  Master’s Yiqian Cao Catherine (University of Auckland)