Published

2024-02-02

(De)Motivating Factors Among TESOL Professionals Writing in English for Publication From South America

Factores (des)motivantes entre profesionales en la enseñanza del inglés como lengua extranjera que escriben en inglés para publicación desde Sudamérica

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.15446/profile.v26n1.108198

Keywords:

demotivation, experiences, motivation, South America, writing for publication (en)
desmotivación, escritura para publicación, experiencias, motivación, Sudamérica (es)

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Authors

While the literature has examined the experiences and attitudes of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) professionals toward writing in English for publication in terms of material, environmental, and political conditions as well as (non)discursive challenges, little is known about the (de)motivating factors underpinning their drive to publish in English, particularly in South America. This study explores the (de)motivation of 522 TESOL professionals in South America to write for publication in English. The study adopted a sequential mixed-methods design that consisted of an online survey followed by 20 individual interviews with purposefully sampled participants. Findings show that, despite personal and social-contextual challenges, the participants were driven by altruism, impact, and self-efficacy.

La literatura ha examinado las experiencias y actitudes de los profesionales en la enseñanza del inglés como lengua extranjera en relación con condiciones materiales, contextuales y políticas, así como en relación con dificultades (no)discursivas. Sin embargo, poco se conoce sobre los factores (des)motivantes que subyacen para publicar en inglés en Sudamérica. Por tanto, este estudio exploró la (des)motivación alrededor de la escritura en inglés para publicación entre 522 profesionales de inglés como lengua extranjera en Sudamérica. Se adoptó un diseño de método secuencial mixto que consistió en una encuesta en línea seguida por veinte entrevistas individuales con participantes escogidos selectivamente. Los resultados sugieren que, a pesar de los desafíos personales y sociocontextuales, los participantes dieron prioridad al altruismo, el impacto, y la autoeficacia.

Recibido: 6 de abril de 2023; Aceptado: 1 de noviembre de 2023

Abstract

While the literature has examined the experiences and attitudes of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) professionals toward writing in English for publication in terms of material, environmental, and political conditions as well as (non)discursive challenges, little is known about the (de)motivating factors underpinning their drive to publish in English, particularly in South America. This study explores the (de)motivation of 522 TESOL professionals in South America to write for publication in English. The study adopted a sequential mixed-methods design that consisted of an online survey followed by 20 individual interviews with purposefully sampled participants. Findings show that, despite personal and social-contextual challenges, the participants were driven by altruism, impact, and self-efficacy.

Keywords:

demotivation, experiences, motivation, South America, writing for publication.

Resumen

La literatura ha examinado las experiencias y actitudes de los profesionales en la enseñanza del inglés como lengua extranjera en relación con condiciones materiales, contextuales y políticas, así como en relación con dificultades (no)discursivas. Sin embargo, poco se conoce sobre los factores (des)motivantes que subyacen para publicar en inglés en Sudamérica. Por tanto, este estudio exploró la (des)motivación alrededor de la escritura en inglés para publicación entre 522 profesionales de inglés como lengua extranjera en Sudamérica. Se adoptó un diseño de método secuencial mixto que consistió en una encuesta en línea seguida por veinte entrevistas individuales con participantes escogidos selectivamente. Los resultados sugieren que, a pesar de los desafíos personales y sociocontextuales, los participantes dieron prioridad al altruismo, el impacto, y la autoeficacia.

Palabras clave:

desmotivación, escritura para publicación, experiencias, motivación, Sudamérica.

Introduction

The expansive phenomenon of writing in English for scholarly publication (e.g., Lillis & Curry, 2016; Paltridge, 2020) has resulted in the emergence of English for research publication purposes (ERPP; Flowerdew & Habibie, 2022; Habibie & Starfield, 2020). Given the entrenched social, economic, and political drives behind ERPP across contexts, researchers have paid particular attention to English-as-an-additional-language (EAL) scholars’ perceptions and practices of ERPP (e.g., Curry & Lillis, 2018; Li & Flowerdew, 2020). These have been often examined in relation to inequalities and inequities that publishing in English can lead to in detriment of knowledge dissemination from EAL scholars often based in so-called peripheral economies/countries (Flowerdew, 2019; Lillis & Curry, 2022; Rounsaville & Zemliansky, 2020). These studies suggest that EAL scholars are at a linguistic and economic disadvantage compared to their Anglophone counterparts (Navarro et al., 2022).

Despite such obstacles, EAL scholars continue to publish in English, motivated by factors such as financial rewards (Xu, 2020a), international recognition (López-Navarro et al., 2015; Mendoza et al., 2021; Sheldon, 2020), as well as knowledge dissemination and advancement (Lee, 2014). Studies on ERPP and motivation tend to collect data across scientific domains (but see Mur-Dueñas, 2019). However, little is known about EAL TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) professionals’ (de)motivation to publish in English. In this study, EAL TESOL professionals are defined as educators with teaching or research responsibilities in higher education courses on English for specific/academic purposes (ESP/EAP) and teacher education programs in TESOL. Hence, this study aims to interrogate how different factors and experiences influence the (de)motivation of writing in English for publication among EAL TESOL professionals in South America.

Conceptual Framework

In this study, motivation is approached from an in-context, relational view (Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2021; Ushioda, 2013) to refer to the undergirding personal, contextual, and historical drives and factors that direct a person’s actions and, as discussed in Darvin and Norton (2021), their investment in specific situated practices to achieve their goals.

TESOL educators’ drives can combine intrinsic, social-contextual, and temporal factors. Intrinsic influences include autonomy, relatedness (e.g., contribution to the common good or the profession), and self-efficacy (Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2021). Social-contextual factors refer to institutional dynamics (e.g., working conditions, the curriculum) and societal views of educators. Last, temporal factors cohere opportunities for professional development and stability (e.g., securing tenure) in teaching as a career. In their conceptualization of teacher motivation, Dörnyei and Ushioda (2021) state that these three factors can be associated with notions of the self (past, present, and future) and how such motivational drives encourage educators to invest in performativity.

A few studies have examined EAL scholars’ (de)motivation to publish in English. Regarding intrinsic motivation, participants appear to be driven by an interest in a broader international readership and recognition, mainly capitalized through citations. For example, in a quantitative study conducted with Spanish researchers from different fields, López-Navarro et al. (2015) found that researchers in the social sciences were primarily driven by (a) communication with international peers and (b) international recognition through citations and invitations to conferences. These findings have been confirmed among researchers in social science (Sheldon, 2020) and applied linguistics (Mur-Dueñas, 2019).

Studies also support the importance of social-contextual and temporal factors such as positive research assessment, access to research grants, and other financial rewards (e.g., Xu, 2020a) for job security and promotion (e.g., Sheldon, 2020). However, Rounsaville and Zemliansky (2020) suggest that although scholars may be driven by institutional mandates, they may also be motivated by “a kind of patriotic rationale that was tied to the desire to elevate Ukrainian science” (p. 624). In the case of small-scale studies with TESOL professionals, participants were driven by intrinsic relatedness factors such as contributing to the field (Banegas et al., 2020) and enhancing self-efficacy and professional development concerning teaching practice (Rathert & Okan, 2010). These findings suggest that social-contextual and temporal factors are reconciled to respond to an intrinsic sense of personal achievement among EAL scholars.

In terms of demotivation among EAL scholars, discursive as well as non-discursive challenges exert a negative influence. Regarding discursive factors, the same studies reviewed above demonstrate that EAL scholars’ challenges may be connected to L2 development and preparation, understanding of writing conventions and genres, practices in their L1, and issues at the juncture of discourse and argumentation (Mur-Dueñas, 2019). In this study, we locate discursive challenges at the intersection of intrinsic, social-contextual, and temporal factors since scholars’ frustrations and performance may be connected to self-efficacy, difficult working conditions, and preparation. Discursive challenges may be aggravated when non-discursive issues such as lack of institutional support with ERPP and research, lack of access to (im)material resources (e.g., human, time, space, finances, bibliography, technology), or even national language policies (Rounsaville & Zemliansky, 2020) increase EAL scholars’ frustration with publishing in English-medium journals (Corcoran, 2019; Janssen & Ruecker, 2022; Mendoza et al., 2021). It is worth noting that incentives such as financial rewards, promotions, or international recognition do not necessarily enhance EAL scholars’ motivation to publish in English in the long term. Xu’s (2020b) study with Chinese academics reveals that incentives can demotivate them since they feel their agency and autonomy are threatened, as they need to orient themselves to respond to an institution-mandated research agenda. In López Navarro et al.’s (2015) study, the participants also showed that the pressure of high-ranking journals and institutions to appeal to an international audience to the detriment of local needs acted as a demotivating factor.

Salager-Meyer (2014; see also Flowerdew, 2019; Li & Flowerdew, 2020; Lillis & Curry, 2022) suggests that the drives and difficulties experienced by EAL scholars demonstrate the complicated and pernicious hierarchy in academic publishing. This includes (a) the differences between central (international) and peripheral (national/regional) journals; (b) the hegemony of English norms and what counts as “important topics”; (c) the minoritization of languages such as Spanish and Portuguese as scientific languages in Latin America (Arnoux, 2016; Zavala, 2019); and (d) systemic complications that exert a negative effect on individual’s trajectories and well-being (Hanauer & Englander, 2011; Mendoza et al., 2021; Ramírez-Castañeda, 2020).

Bolstered by a person-in-context, relational view of teacher motivation (Ushioda, 2013), this study seeks to understand EAL scholars’ (de)motivation with scholarly writing for publication in English by calibrating the focus on South American EAL TESOL professionals’ drives and experiences. Against this backdrop, two questions guided this study:

  1. What factors motivate and demotivate South American EAL TESOL professionals to write in English for scholarly publication?

  2. How do their experiences with writing in English for scholarly publication influence their (de)motivation?

Method

We conducted a sequential mixed-methods-based study (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2018) that consisted of an online landscaping survey followed by one individual interview with purposefully sampled participants. The survey was completed by 522 TESOL professionals, who matched all these criteria: (a) be working in South America, (b) at a higher education institution (tertiary or university), (c) as a part-time or full-time tutor/lecturer/teacher/educator/professor in (d) the field of English language teaching (including English for Academic/Specific/Occupational Purposes), and (e) be an EAL user.

Participants

The participants (frequency in brackets) were based in Argentina (146), Brazil (72), Chile (54), Colombia (107), Ecuador (68), Paraguay (7), Peru (12), Uruguay (38), and Venezuela (18). They identified themselves as female (79%), male (20%), and 1% preferred not to disclose this information. Regarding age, the distribution was the following: 21-24 (0.65%), 25-34 (15.48%), 35-44 (34.19%), 45-54 (30.97%), 55-64 (16.77%), and 65-74 (1.94%). Concerning years of professional experience in higher education, the results were 0-5 (14.06%), 6-10 (26.75%), 11-20 (36.3%), 21-30 (17.19%), and 31-40 (5.09%). The question on the participants’ highest qualification/degree yielded these results: undergraduate (9.68%), licenciatura (10.32%), especialización (10.97%), master’s (45.81%), and doctorate (23.23%). The terms licenciatura and especialización have a wide spectrum of meanings in South America. The former could be understood as an undergraduate program focusing on teaching, linguistics, or English language and literature research. The latter may range from a 120-hour course to a graduate two-year degree program to develop teaching or research skills around one area.

Of the 522 participants, 28.95% had a post as lecturer in modules linked to English language pedagogy (e.g., the practicum), 23.68% as lecturer in modules linked to English as a system (e.g., grammar), 21.71% as EAP tutor/lecturer, 11.18% as lecturer in modules connected to professional development (e.g., educational research), and 1.32% as lecturer in modules linked to translation.

The data also depicts the complex nature and precarity behind some of these higher education posts in South America since only 55.33% of the participants had full-time jobs (not necessarily permanent). The remaining 44.67% represented part-time jobs, often exclusively comprised of teaching hours. Regarding the workload allocated to research, Figure 1 shows the frequency of participants according to the percentage of research dedication. Only 4.31% of them had between 31-40% of their workload for research. However, the 20 interviewees later confirmed that, in practice, teaching commitments also consumed 20% or more of their research time.

Participants’ Percentage of Research Dedication in Their Post (N = 522)

Figure 1: Participants’ Percentage of Research Dedication in Their Post (N = 522)

All the participants reported having submitted a manuscript for publication (i.e., reviews, empirical articles, conference papers, books, and book chapters) between 2011 and 2021 in local, national, regional, and, to a lesser extent, international outlets. Figure 2 shows that 488 (93.58%) published at least one paper. Of those 488, only 10.72% said they published at least one article in an international journal.

Participants’ Publications Between 2011 and 2021 (N = 522)

Figure 2: Participants’ Publications Between 2011 and 2021 (N = 522)

Regarding the language(s) of publication, only 9.01% stated that all their publications were in English. This finding reveals that the participants, to varying degrees, also published in other languages, such as Spanish or Portuguese, which shows that they could be regarded as plurilingual EAL authors (Corcoran, 2019).

Data Collection and Analysis

The survey1 consisted of 24 questions, organized into two sections: (a) background information (Questions 1-7) and (b) experiences and perceptions (Questions 8-24). The sections included open-ended and closed-ended questions to gather information about the participants’ working conditions, experiences, and (de)motivating factors surrounding academic writing for publication. The closed-ended questions often featured a Likert scale. For instrument validation, the survey was piloted with an international group of TESOL professionals, some based in South America. Drawing on their feedback, the survey was modified before it was administered widely.

The survey was distributed via Facebook, Instagram, professional mailing lists, and professional networks and remained open between 1 May and 30 June 2021. The participants were required to grant written informed consent before completing the survey. Drawing on quantitative analysis procedures (Brown, 1988), descriptive statistics was used for the closed-ended items with a Likert scale. Frequency of responses was used with closed-ended items without a Likert scale, and content analysis was used for questions with open-ended items.

Of the 522 who completed the survey, 71 were willing to participate in a follow-up interview. We selected 20 through purposeful sampling to represent a range of (a) backgrounds and (b) publication records, drives, and experiences (Table 1).

Table 1: Interviewed Participants’ Details

Participant (pseudonym) Country Highest degree Years of experience Part-time (PT) or full-time (FT) post Percentage of research dedication Outlets published in English 2011-2021 Main motivation to publish
Ana Colombia Master’s 13 PT 0 1-5 Better post
Agustín Colombia Doctorate 32 FT 6-10 +30 Share experience
Bruno Chile Master’s 8 FT 1-5 6-10 Obtain a scholarship
Camila Argentina Licenciatura 4 PT 0 1-5 Sharing
Carlos Colombia Master’s 21 FT 6-10 6-10 Enhance reputation
Carolina Argentina Licenciatura 14 PT 0 1-5 Obtain scholarship
Cayetana Brazil Doctorate 24 PT 21-30 11-20 Post duty
Cristina Ecuador Master’s 6 PT 0 1-5 Better post
Diego Peru Master’s 3 PT 1-5 1-5 Better post
Francisco Ecuador Master’s 9 FT 21-30 6-10 Sharing
Genaro Uruguay Licenciatura 15 PT 0 0 Enhance teaching
Helena Chile Doctorate 11 FT 21-30 6-10 Participate in the academic community
Juan Argentina Especialización 18 PT 6-10 0 Enhance teaching
Melina Argentina Master’s 14 PT 1-5 0 Improve writing skills
Mercedes Uruguay Especialización 22 PT 11-20 1-5 Participate in the academic community
Rita Colombia Master’s 26 PT 1-5 11-20 Contribute to knowledge
Rodrigo Uruguay Undergraduate 2 PT 1-5 1-5 Obtain scholarship
Sabrina Argentina Licenciatura 7 FT 0 1-5 Better post
Samira Argentina Doctorate 16 FT 11-20 0 Post duty
Pablo Argentina Master’s 13 PT 1-5 1-5 Improve writing skills

The follow-up interviews with the 20 participants were carried out between July and September 2021. Each author interviewed ten participants via Zoom. The interviews (mean length = 42 minutes) were in Spanish or English. All the interviews followed this protocol: (a) the participant introduced themselves and briefly described their working environment to confirm their answers to survey questions 1-7, and (b) the participant was asked to elaborate/justify/illustrate their responses to survey questions 9, 10, 14, 17, 20-22 to gauge their experiences with publishing, impact of rejections, motivating and demotivating factors, and types of targeted outlets (e.g., in Question 10a-b, you said your first preference was to publish in regional journals and that the main reason was impact, could you tell me more about it?). An asterisk (*) placed at the beginning of some interview extracts below indicates the authors have translated them from Spanish (original) into English.

The interviews were transcribed in standard orthography (English/Spanish) for a combination of deductive (factors in teacher motivation as discussed in Dörnyei and Ushioda, 2021) and inductive thematic analysis (e.g., legitimacy for self-efficacy or reviewers’ feedback as frustrating, Figure 3; Braun & Clarke, 2021). Understood as an iterative process, thematic analysis entailed each author reading and re-reading the data for data familiarization before engaging in the following levels of coding: (a) initial, (b) focused (identification of frequent or significant codes connected to the research questions), and (c) axial (organization of codes into broader analytical categories). We then discussed our codes for theme unification (Figure 3) to re-analyze the data. We should acknowledge our positioning as two South American researchers interested in supporting knowledge flow and democracy in/from Latin America.

Theme Unification

Figure 3: Theme Unification

To ensure confirmability, trustworthiness, and transparency (Lincoln & Guba, 1985), a UK-based colleague unfamiliar with the study analyzed 50% of the data. Discrepancies were discussed, which involved reanalysis of some interviews until we reached an agreement.

Findings

The findings integrate quantitative and qualitative data and have been organized according to motivating and demotivating factors.

Motivating Factors

According to the survey, 81.20% of the participants were interested in writing an article even if it was not part of their post (maybe: 14.53%; no: 4.27%). Of those interested in publishing, 54.07% said they would publish in English, 38.89% in Spanish, 5.10% in Portuguese, and 0.37% in Guarani. The participants used a five-point Likert scale (1 = little/no motivation, 5 = extremely motivating) to select the main drives behind publishing (Table 2). The items could be categorized as representing intrinsic (Items 1-7 and 9), social-contextual (Items 8 and 11) or temporal (Items 10 and 12) motives (Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2021).

Table 2: Descriptive Statistics of Reasons for Publishing (in Order of Frequency)

Reason Mean SD 95% CIs M
Lower Upper
1. To contribute to knowledge 4.55 0.84 4.37 4.65
2. To share a professional experience 4.40 0.88 4.19 4.54
3. To participate in the academic community 4.38 0.98 4.18 4.52
4. To enhance my teaching 4.12 1.10 3.98 4.22
5. To develop my researcher identity 4.12 1.23 3.99 4.31
6. To be legitimized as a researcher 3.57 1.53 3.36 3.81
7. To develop my academic writing skills 3.55 1.26 3.34 3.72
8. To fulfill my obligations/duties as an educator 3.32 1.50 3.16 3.53
9. To enhance my reputation 2.82 1.48 2.59 3.00
10. To obtain a better post 2.72 1.45 2.48 2.91
11. My research funder requires it 2.69 1.61 2.37 2.88
12. To obtain a scholarship 2.39 1.51 2.21 2.55

Table 2 provides a wide range of motivating factors; however, intrinsic motivation through relatedness, impact, and legitimacy for self-efficacy influenced the participants’ interest in publishing.

Intrinsic Motivation Through Relatedness

The participants’ motivators to publish were mainly linked to intrinsic drives connected to relatedness emerging from the field itself (Item 1), a sense of belonging (Item 3), teaching and personal efficacy (Item 4), and identity development and validation (Items 5 and 6). Also, responses to Items 1 and 3 could be interpreted as participants’ interest in impact, the latter also connected to Item 9. Notably, a social-contextual factor, such as fulfilling contractual obligations (Items 8 and 11), did not rank high, possibly because of the percentage of participants (25%) without a research contract or pressure to obtain research grants. However, Cristina explained (Extract 1) that even when there was a contractual/external factor at play, her sense of self-efficacy and self-validation was more prominent: “This is my main motivation, to finish the research process, to prove myself I can do this, that I can improve my research skills and use of academic English.”

As in previous studies (e.g., López-Navarro et al., 2015), intrinsic motivation played a vital role in the participants’ motivation to publish in English, particularly about relatedness (altruism, contribution to knowledge, and self-efficacy). Unlike previous studies (e.g., Xu, 2020a, b), social-contextual factors such as promotion or other financial rewards did not appear as prominent.

Intrinsic Motivation Through Impact

Altruistic values about contribution to teaching communities and knowledge economies drove participants’ interest in impact. For example, Camila explained: “*It’s about socializing experiences within a group, that is, within the national as well as international teacher community, to establish links, to belong. I’m enriched and can enrich others through what I write” (Extract 2).

By the same token, other participants’ altruistic motives to publish were connected to knowledge society and democracy:

*To transcend, to communicate. I think that there’s a moment in our academic lives in which we have to project ourselves. The idea is to contribute to the knowledge society, to citizenship. I think that if we are part of a public national university, we have the obligation to transcend, to spread and share knowledge. (Rita, Extract 3)

Behind their altruism, impact influenced the participants’ preferred types of journals, as in Mur-Dueñas (2019). Table 3 shows that the participants preferred international journals, contrary to their 2011-2021 publication history.

Table 3: Ranking of Preferred Outlets (1 = Most Preferred)

Question 1 2 3
National (e.g., Argentinian Journal of Applied Linguistics) 26.06% 55.63% 18.31%
Regional (e.g., Profile) 14.79% 30.99% 54.23%
International (e.g., Language Teaching Research) 59.15% 13.38% 27.46%

The three most selected motives behind the participants’ most preferred outlet were impact (51.01%), contribution to context (23.49%), and prestige (9.40%). While the first two reasons relate to societal altruistic motives, the third is oriented toward individual professional identity and validation within the academic community beyond their immediate context.

Regional and national journals were attractive for reasons connected to the combination of impact and contribution to knowledge at a regional level as a way of strengthening local knowledge economies:

*I’m interested in regional journals because the editors and the readership and us authors have a shared understanding of topics which are important to us all in the continent, so our impact is more focused and direct. (Juan, Extract 4)

I’d like to publish more in regional and national journals because all of them are open access and that contributes to knowledge flow and democracy within and beyond the continent. (Cayetana, Extract 5)

Extracts 4 and 5 show that TESOL professionals’ intrinsic motivation through impact on regional research agendas can advocate for engaging in regional journals. As previously noted (Cárdenas & Rainey, 2018; Rounsaville & Zemliansky, 2020), they can elevate local knowledge as central and develop regional conversations around context-responsive topics that do not need to conform to journals based in Anglo-dominant countries.

Intrinsic Motivation Through Legitimacy for Self-Efficacy

A sense of legitimacy also directed the participants’ drive to publish in international journals from their closest and international academic communities (Table 2). As shown below, the participants’ quest for validation/prestige was a strategy to enhance their self-efficacy. For example, those whose first option was to publish in international journals (Table 3) referred to notions of prestige, recognition, and visibility, as Extract 6 illustrates: “*Publishing in a high-ranking journal will give me the validation of the international community as a researcher. I’ll become known, and that will help me participate more confidently in the local academic community” (Helena).

Differently put, publishing in a reputable international journal may be a message of external recognition of an EAL TESOL professional’s research skills for their local and regional academic communities. Also, publishing in national and regional journals could validate the submission of manuscripts to international journals:

I’d like to publish in national and regional journals to gain experience and confidence with the process and grapple with potential frustration. I think that it will help me move to submitting to international journals. I’m not ready for the big leagues yet. (Francisca, Extract 7)

Extract 7 illustrates that educators’ interest in impact may be connected to a self-initiated professional development journey through which they progress from national and regional to international journals.

These findings portray how the participants’ motivation to publish was highly intrinsic, with a dominance of relatedness factors. They also show that the participants tended to perceive the hierarchies among journals concerning their sense of self-efficacy and contribution to regional knowledge, as problematized in Banegas et al. (2020).

Demotivating Factors

Personal and Social-Contextual Demotivating Factors

Arranged in order of negative impact (Likert scale 1 = little/no impact, 5 = extremely impactful), Table 4 shows a range of multifarious demotivating factors: personal (e.g., Items 5 and 9) as well as working conditions (e.g., Items 1, 4, and 10). Similar to the results on motivation, the participants’ years of experience explain the higher SD in items 2-6 and 10.

Table 4: Descriptive Statistics of Demotivating Factors

Item Mean SD 95% CIs M
Lower Upper
1. Lack of time 4.05 0.56 3.90 4.21
2. Institutional support 3.42 1.05 3.24 3.67
3. Nature of my post (e.g., teaching) 2.62 1.14 2.48 2.81
4. Access to academic resources (e.g., articles) 2.57 1.51 2.32 2.77
5. Research skills 2.48 1.01 2.21 2.66
6. Institutional incentives (e.g., promotion) 2.22 1.82 2.04 2.45
7. Awareness of journals in my area of expertise/interest 2.02 0.02 2.00 2.03
8. Knowledge of publications processes 1.82 0.22 1.77 1.99
9. Knowledge of writing conventions 1.73 0.77 1.68 1.81
10. Salary 1.68 1.08 1.48 1.72
11. Genre awareness 1.52 0.51 1.12 1.61
12. English language proficiency 1.44 0.41 1.16 1.55
13. Proofreading skills 1.24 0.19 1.20 1.39

In line with studies from Latin America (Mendoza et al., 2021; Waigandt et al., 2019), non-discursive personal (e.g., Items 5, 7, and 8), and social-contextual challenges (Items 1-4, 6, and 10) exerted a negative impact on the participants’ motivation to engage in scholarly writing. Discursive problems (Items 9, 11-13) were less influential. As previously discussed in the literature (e.g., Flowerdew, 2019), the participants were disadvantaged regarding institutional support and personal preparation, including research skills, but excluding ERPP skills.

During the interviews, some participants elaborated on their discursive challenges, identity as Latinxs writing in English, and issues with adapting or conforming to other writing conventions and expectations. As discussed in Li and Flowerdew (2020), the participants perceived their L1 and culture as barriers:

*I think the most difficult thing for me was to understand that, to enter the English-medium research world, I had to compromise my L1 Spanish identity just to fit in the Anglo-Saxon tradition of writing. (Diego, Extract 8)

*I feel that when I’m writing in English, I need to get rid of my linguistic and cultural identity as a Latino. So, I find the writing depersonalizing, like I cannot connect my identity with that text I am writing. (Genaro, Extract 9)

Extracts 8 and 9 depict a familiar issue in the literature: plurilingual writers’ professional identities and voice when writing in English (e.g., Langum & Sullivan, 2020; Lillis & Curry, 2016). The extracts expose that the investment (Darvin & Norton, 2021) triggered by intrinsic motivation factors takes place at the expense of the participant’s identity in an attempt to belong/conform to an imagined international academic community (Kuteeva & Mauranen, 2014) in TESOL.

In terms of motivating and demotivating factors, it could be advanced that while the motivation for scholarly writing in English was highly intrinsic, demotivation was primarily social-contextual. Below, we examine the influence of the participants’ publishing experiences.

(De)motivating Factors From Publishing Experiences

The participants’ experiences submitting manuscripts for publication added a wide range of (de)motivating factors, particularly concerning research interests and reviewers’ feedback.

Whose Agenda?

The 488 participants who reported having published a paper expressed a gamut of feelings (Table 5). The participants used more than one adjective to describe their views (e.g., “a learning opportunity and friendly,” “friendly but time consuming,” or “time consuming and frustrating”), which explains that the total percentage exceeds 100%.

Table 5: Participants’ Experiences With Publishing (n = 488)

The experience was… %
1. A learning opportunity 70.11
2. Time consuming 60.45
3. Frustrating 30.03
4. Friendly 12.44
5. Easy 4.87
6. Difficult 3.66

The 522 participants also acknowledged the number of manuscripts rejected between 2011 and 2021: 0 (48.15%), 1-5 (38.89%), 6-10 (9.26%), 11-20 (2.78%), 21-30 (0%), and more than 30 (0.93%). They reported the following reasons: outside the scope/interest of the journal (51.16%, desk rejection), methodological problems (9.30%), limited awareness of recent advances in the field/weak conceptual framework and literature review (9.30%), unclear manuscript structure (6.97%), not meeting academic language standards (6.97%), lack of original findings (6.97%), unclear focus (4.65%), and problems with how results were presented (2.97%). It is worth noting that the participants’ ERPP skills did not seem to constitute a barrier. Concerning desk rejection, Samira said: “*Perhaps the context of our studies, which are located in Latin America, is not relevant to them [international journals] because most of their readership belongs to the US, Canada, and Europe” (Extract 10).

Samira seems to question the extent to which so-called international journals are international as a synonym of research agenda inclusive. Samira’s experience may also indicate that some participants placed themselves in a deficit position from which they believed that their context, and by extension their research, was not good enough for the international readership of prestigious journals, an issue previously problematized in Mur-Dueñas (2019) or Xu (2020b).

Unlike the reported experiences with accepted manuscripts, the 271 participants who had manuscripts rejected summarized them with one word or phrase only (Table 6).

Table 6: Participants’ Experiences With Rejected Manuscripts (n = 271)

Consequence %
1. Revised and submitted elsewhere 86.92
2. No action 7.21
3. Stopped submitting the manuscript 3.35
4. Questioned their professionalism 1.26
5. Had their contract cancelled 1.26

Both Item 1 in Table 6 and Item 1 in Table 5 show that the participants adopted a resilient attitude and valued professional development benefits (e.g., Janssen & Ruecker, 2022), that is, temporal factors of teacher motivation derived from reviewers’ feedback (see below). However, we should not ignore those whose well-being and job stability were affected (Table 6, Items 4 and 5), even if they were only a minority.

Reviewers’ Feedback as a Learning Opportunity

As Paltridge (2019) notes, reviewers’ feedback is a core element of the academic publication process. Some participants perceived editors’ and anonymous reviewers’ feedback as friendly, respectful, supportive, and constructive even when the outcome was a rejection, usually attributed to methodological and/or conceptual issues. Two participants said:

*The feedback from the reviewers and editors helped me reflect on my own work and reconsider or pay attention to issues I had overlooked or was unaware of. (Ana, Extract 11)

*You learn not only in terms of framework but also in terms of which type of vocabulary you should use, how to organize your writing, the type of information you should include. All these things you will only learn through this experience; you won’t know about them otherwise. (Pablo, Extract 12)

Extracts 11 and 12 show the learning value these participants associated with the publishing experience. In some cases, they focused on the article’s content and the possibility of reflecting upon their research as a result of feedback, while others highlighted more formal or genre-related aspects of ERPP (Extract 12).

Reviewers’ Feedback as Frustrating

Feedback assumed demotivating properties when the participants considered the external reviewers’ comments contradictory and/or aggressive: “*The reviewers’ comments were contradictory, and the editor didn’t seem to have a firm stance. The reviewers’ comments were aggressive, and the editor could have, quite ironically, edited them before sending them raw” (Helena, Extract 13).

Extract 13 shows that the participants’ feelings of frustration may indicate that, at least in the participants’ eyes, journal editors need to offer clearer editorial/executive orientations. In addition, reviewers’ feedback led some participants to struggle with their self-image as professionals, but their sense of self-efficacy prevailed:

*I had good comments on that paper at my university, and when it came back with this negative review, I asked myself: “Am I good at this?” But then, you have two options, either you take it as a failure and never publish again, or you keep trying. I looked for another journal, and then I did pass the first revision process. (Bruno, Extract 14)

The participants’ (de)motivating experiences with publishing seem to be influenced by temporal factors of teacher motivation (Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2021), as they understood them as learning opportunities (i.e., professional development). In particular, the participants displayed resilience (Extract 14), and the outcome of the review process, regardless of the nature and tone of the feedback, drove them to revise their manuscripts and submit them elsewhere (Table 6, 86.92%). Such a behavior illustrates the interconnectedness between motivation and investment (Darvin & Norton, 2021; Ushioda, 2013). Their intrinsic sense of relatedness and interest in professional development led them to persevere despite demotivating social-contextual circumstances (Table 4).

Overall, the findings show that the participating South American EAL TESOL professionals’ publishing interests and trajectories were influenced by (a) intrinsic, (b) temporal, and (c) social-contextual factors (Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2021). However, these factors may exercise different degrees of influence on EAL TESOL professionals.

Discussion

This study explored the factors that (de)motivate EAL TESOL professionals in South America to publish in English and how their publishing experiences can be (de)motivating. Drawing on our findings, Figure 4 depicts the in-context centripetal or centrifugal forces arranged in three layers that shape the (de)motivating factors resulting from personal, contextual, and experiential circumstances. The three layers constantly interact with each other, hence the broken lines and the arrows indicating directionality. This three-layer system is part of a broader context that exceeds EAL TESOL professionals’ institutions, extending to journals in the field and professional communities in different settings.

South American EAL TESOL Professionals Writing for Publication in English: (De)Motivating Factors

Figure 4: South American EAL TESOL Professionals Writing for Publication in English: (De)Motivating Factors

In the inner-most layer, three interdependent intrinsic factors (relatedness, impact, and self-efficacy) exercise a centripetal force, thus acting as motivating drives in scholarly writing for publication in English among EAL TESOL professionals in South America. As in previous studies (e.g., Banegas et al., 2020), relatedness, which in turn is built on a sense of altruism, refers to the participants’ interest in contributing to knowledge in the field (see Table 2, Item 1 and Extracts 1 and 2) while developing a sense of belonging to the TESOL community. In parallel, there is an interest in achieving a positive impact on their teaching practice (Table 2, Item 4, Extract 3) as well as on teaching and research communities in the region (Table 2, Item 3, Extract 3), which echoes previous studies (Rathert & Okan, 2010; Rounsaville & Zemliansky, 2020). In this sense, publishing may legitimize the participants locally (Extract 7) and internationally (Extract 6). Last, self-efficacy conflates those drives that can help TESOL professionals feel confident and recognized by local, regional, and (imagined) international communities (Table 3, Items 6 and 9, Extracts 6 and 9) (Kuteeva & Mauranen, 2014). At this point, we speculate that an interest in validation can also act as a way of compensating for the lack of support they may suffer at an institutional level. However, it should be noted that, unlike studies in other areas of the social sciences (e.g., López-Navarro et al., 2015; Sheldon, 2020; Xu, 2020a), drives sitting at the intersection of intrinsic and social-contextual factors such as international recognition, citations, financial rewards (including research grants) or promotion were not as significant as intrinsic motivating factors for the participants in this study (Table 2, Extracts 1-3). We believe the lack of such opportunities in the participants’ working conditions may explain the difference. In addition, the participants in this study did not identify themselves as researchers but as lecturers with a heavy teaching workload, mainly interested in contributing to the advancement of the field and improvement of their teaching practices (Table 2, Items 1-4).

The middle layer conflates temporal factors such as publishing experiences and social-contextual factors about tensions around research agendas. Both acted as centripetal or centrifugal forces. As a centripetal force, the participants catalyzed reviewers’ feedback as professional development prospects over time (Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2021) and the publishing experience as a learning opportunity (Table 5, Extracts 11 and 12), which in turn could be associated with notions of resilience, self-efficacy, and professional identity; therefore, they were motivating. This is further supported by the fact that most of the experiences with rejected manuscripts led participants in this study to revise and resubmit their work to other journals (Table 6). Notwithstanding, feedback perceived as aggressive or contradictory and desk rejections due to a purported focus outside a journal’s scope became demotivating (i.e., a centrifugal force; Extract 13). As illustrated in Extract 14, such negative experiences may lead professionals to experience a lack of confidence.

Regarding tensions around international journals’ research agendas (Salager-Meyer, 2014) and participants’ views on scope (Table 4, Extracts 4 and 10) or interests in regional journals (Table 4, Extracts 4 and 5), it seems that some participants may wish to prioritize local research agendas and mainstream languages in the region (e.g., Spanish) through submissions to national/regional journals, while still acknowledging the regional impact and validation they could achieve through international journals. This finding differs from previous studies in which participants yielded to the pressures and challenges of appealing to an international audience (e.g., Xu, 2020b). This decision at the intersection of the middle and inner-most layers reinforces the gravitation toward elevating regional knowledge (Rounsaville & Zemliansky, 2020) in TESOL by contributing to research topics that are initially meaningful to TESOL professionals in South America (e.g., Lillis & Curry, 2022). At the same time, they seem ready to utilize their plurilingual identity (e.g., Langum & Sullivan, 2020; Lillis & Curry, 2016) to unsettle hegemonic discourses in knowledge production and dissemination. In other words, they are interested in contacting other regional educators (Extracts 4 and 5).

Last, the outer-most layer contains social-contextual factors (institutional conditions) and personal preparation (research skills), which assume a centripetal movement. In the case of our participants, higher education institutions may operate against TESOL professionals’ temporal and intrinsic motivation drives. In line with the literature (e.g., Mendoza et al., 2021), our participants are part of a higher education system with precarious working conditions, given the volatility of their contracts or the limited workload allocated to research (Figure 1). These undesirable circumstances are exacerbated by a lack of institutional support, incentives, or access to international journals, which places South American TESOL scholars in a state of inequality and inequity compared to their counterparts in the so-called Global North (Flowerdew, 2019). Social-contextual factors may also increase an identity of deficiency among TESOL educators writing from “edge countries” (Rounsanville & Zemliansky, 2020), mainly when they assess their research skills. Nevertheless, the participants displayed resilience since 81.20% were inclined to publish regardless of their unfavorable working conditions, and only 6.42% (Figure 2) did not exhibit publication records between 2011 and 2021. The synergy between temporal and intrinsic motivation factors may explain their resilience.

Finally, this study corroborates previous research canvassed on the professional development benefits and contribution to situated knowledge through writing for publication (e.g., Rathert & Okan, 2010) despite non-discursive challenges (e.g., Mur-Dueñas, 2019). However, the participants did not recognize their ERPP development as a major discursive challenge (Table 4, Items 5, 8, 9, 11-13), as discussed in the literature (e.g., Flowerdew, 2019), or a major reason for desk rejections, even when some reported a struggle between their Latinx identity and ERPP (Extracts 8 and 9). We believe this discrepancy with previous research is based on the identity of our EAL participants: TESOL professionals in higher education (i.e., professionals who may have experience in EAP/ERPP). We may also speculate that acknowledging personal issues with ERPP could have been perceived as a threat to their professional identity and sense of self-efficacy.

Conclusion

This study suggests that EAL TESOL professionals in South America show resilience in contributing to teaching and research in the region and beyond. However, their resilience should not be romanticized since the benefits obtained are built on perpetuating inequality and inequity.

Our findings are not free from limitations. For example, we mainly focused on journals as outlets for publication, but we did not enquire about other outlets, such as edited volumes. We also did not probe further into those participants who expressed an interest in publishing in languages other than English nor into the type (or lack) of publishing rewards, incentives, or career progression opportunities in many South American universities. Finally, we did not dig deeper into cases in which higher education professional educators may not be required to publish.

A few implications can be drawn from this study. Higher education institutions in South America with TESOL programs can (a) incentivize the publication in languages other than English (Navarro et al., 2022) by offering awards or extra days off, (b) encourage lecturers to include publications authored by Latin American (TESOL) professionals in their reading lists, (c) offer courses based on critical plurilingual pedagogies (Englander & Corcoran, 2019) for writing for scholarly publication in national and regional journals, (d) set writing centers to support higher education professionals address genre, meta-discourse, and style-related issues in the writing of manuscripts for publication (Innocentini & Navarro, 2022; Janssen & Restrepo, 2019; Janssen & Ruecker, 2022), (e) organize intra-/inter-institutional, self-led writing groups to increase mentoring, collaboration, and research capacity (Carlino & Cordero Carpio, 2023; Colombo & Rodas, 2021; Rodas et al., 2021), and (f) liaise with regional professional associations and journals to discuss issues around research agendas and publishing practices. A focus on regional journals may echo an epistemologies-of-the-South perspective (de Sousa Santos & Meneses, 2014) since this emphasis may lead to emancipating logos that destabilize hegemonic and hierarchical ways of knowledge production sometimes reproduced in South America.

Future research could examine EAL TESOL professionals’ publications in languages other than English through more sophisticated quantitative and qualitative methods. The psychological and political connections between job satisfaction, career progression, and professional development through writing for scholarly publication are also worth investigating. Longitudinal case studies could also shed light on language professionals’ publishing experiences and their management of different institutional and publishing barriers.

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Available at https://bit.ly/3ILAlYZ
Banegas, D. L., & Romano, M. E. (2024). (De)Motivating factors among TESOL professionals writing in English for publication from South America. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 26(1), 31-48. https://doi.org/10.15446/profile.v26n1.108198

About the Authors

is a lecturer in Language Education at the Moray House School of Education and Sport (University of Edinburgh). His primary teaching interests are language curriculum design, motivation, identity, and gender and sexuality diversity. His current research focuses on social justice, action research, and preservice teachers’ identity and agency.
is an associate professor in the Department of English as a Foreign Language at the Faculty of Languages of the National University of Córdoba, Argentina. Her research and teaching interests include foreign language writing and assessment. Her current projects address autonomy and assessment in EFL writing.

References

Arnoux, E. (2016). Minorización lingüística y diversidad: en torno al español y al portugués como lenguas científicas. In M. V. Carvalho Garcia, G. Ribeiro Pereira, F. Berto, & S. Schernikau Soares Akasha (Eds.), Anais do seminário ibero-americano de diversidade linguística (pp. 290–306). Iphan.

Banegas, D. L., Loutayf, S., Company, S., Alemán, M., & Roberts, G. (2020). Learning to write book reviews for publication: A collaborative action research study on student-teachers’ perceptions, motivation, and self-efficacy. System, 95, 102371. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2020.102371

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2021). Thematic analysis. In E. Lyons & A. Coyle (Eds.), Analysing qualitative data in psychology (3rd ed., pp. 128–147). Sage.

Brown, J. D. (1988). Understanding research in second language learning: A teacher’s guide to statistics and research design. Cambridge University Press.

Cárdenas, M. L., & Rainey, I. (2018). Publishing from the ELT periphery: The Profile journal experience in Colombia. In M. J. Curry & T. Lillis (Eds.), Global academic publishing: Policies, perspectives, and pedagogies (pp. 151–165). Multilingual Matters. https://doi.org/10.21832/9781783099245-016

Carlino, P., & Cordero Carpio, G. (2023). Enseñar con escritura y enseñar a escribir: enfoque entrelazado mediante colaboración interdisciplinar. Lengua y Sociedad, 22(2), 35–64. https://doi.org/10.15381/lengsoc.v22i2.24685

Colombo, L., & Rodas, E. L. (2021). Interdisciplinarity as an opportunity in Argentinian and Ecuadorian writing groups. Higher Education Research & Development, 40(2), 207–219. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2020.1756750

Corcoran, J. (2019). Addressing the “bias gap”: A research-driven argument for critical support of plurilingual scientists’ research writing. Written Communication, 36(4), 538–577. https://doi.org/10.1177/0741088319861648

Creswell, J., & Plano Clark, V. L. (2018). Designing and conducting mixed methods research (3rd ed.). Sage.

Curry, M. J., & Lillis, T. (Eds.). (2018). Global academic publishing: Policies, perspectives and pedagogies. Multilingual Matters. https://doi.org/10.21832/9781783099245

Darvin, R., & Norton, B. (2021). Investment and motivation in language learning: What’s the difference? Language Teaching, 56(1), 29–40. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444821000057

De Sousa Santos, B., & Meneses, P. (Eds.). (2014). Epistemologías del sur (Perspectivas). Akal.

Dörnyei, Z., & Ushioda, E. (2021). Teaching and researching motivation (3rd ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351006743-2

Englander, K., & Corcoran, J. (2019). English for research publication purposes: Critical plurilingual pedagogies. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429053184

Flowerdew, J. (2019). The linguistic disadvantage of scholars who write in English as an additional language: Myth or reality. Language Teaching, 52(2), 249–260. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444819000041

Flowerdew, J., & Habibie, P. (2022). Introducing English for research publication purposes. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429317798

Habibie, P., & Starfield, S. (2020). Journal of English for Research Publication Purposes: Visions and directions. Journal of English for Research Publication Purposes, 1(1), 1–3. https://doi.org/10.1075/jerpp.00001.edi

Hanauer, D. I., & Englander, K. (2011). Quantifying the burden of writing research articles in a second language: Data from Mexican scientists. Written Communication, 28(4), 403–416. https://doi.org/10.1177/0741088311420056

Innocentini, V. A., & Navarro, F. D. (2022). Negotiating across languages: Metadiscourse in English and Spanish abstracts in soil science. Literatura y Lingüística, (46), 113–152.

Janssen, G., & Restrepo, S. (2019). A utilization-focused program evaluation of an ERPP tutoring service at one Colombian university. In J. Corcoran, K. Englander, & L.-M. Muresan (Eds.), Pedagogies and policies for publishing research in English: Local initiatives supporting international scholars (pp. 19–35). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315151229-2

Janssen, G., & Ruecker, T. (2022). Apoyo and English for research publication purposes at a Latin American university. TESOL Quarterly, 56(2), 750–762. https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.3097

Kuteeva, M., & Mauranen, A. (2014). Writing for publication in multilingual contexts: An introduction to the special issue. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 13, 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2013.11.002

Langum, V., & Sullivan, K. P. H. (2020). Academic writing, scholarly identity, voice and the benefits and challenges of multilingualism: Reflections from Norwegian doctoral researchers in teacher education. Linguistics and Education, 60, 100883. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.linged.2020.100883

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How to Cite

APA

Banegas, D. L. and Romano, M. E. (2024). (De)Motivating Factors Among TESOL Professionals Writing in English for Publication From South America. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 26(1), 31–48. https://doi.org/10.15446/profile.v26n1.108198

ACM

[1]
Banegas, D.L. and Romano, M.E. 2024. (De)Motivating Factors Among TESOL Professionals Writing in English for Publication From South America. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development. 26, 1 (Feb. 2024), 31–48. DOI:https://doi.org/10.15446/profile.v26n1.108198.

ACS

(1)
Banegas, D. L.; Romano, M. E. (De)Motivating Factors Among TESOL Professionals Writing in English for Publication From South America. Profile: Issues Teach. Prof. Dev. 2024, 26, 31-48.

ABNT

BANEGAS, D. L.; ROMANO, M. E. (De)Motivating Factors Among TESOL Professionals Writing in English for Publication From South America. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, [S. l.], v. 26, n. 1, p. 31–48, 2024. DOI: 10.15446/profile.v26n1.108198. Disponível em: https://revistas.unal.edu.co/index.php/profile/article/view/108198. Acesso em: 1 mar. 2024.

Chicago

Banegas, Darío Luis, and María Elisa Romano. 2024. “(De)Motivating Factors Among TESOL Professionals Writing in English for Publication From South America”. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development 26 (1):31-48. https://doi.org/10.15446/profile.v26n1.108198.

Harvard

Banegas, D. L. and Romano, M. E. (2024) “(De)Motivating Factors Among TESOL Professionals Writing in English for Publication From South America”, Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 26(1), pp. 31–48. doi: 10.15446/profile.v26n1.108198.

IEEE

[1]
D. L. Banegas and M. E. Romano, “(De)Motivating Factors Among TESOL Professionals Writing in English for Publication From South America”, Profile: Issues Teach. Prof. Dev., vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 31–48, Feb. 2024.

MLA

Banegas, D. L., and M. E. Romano. “(De)Motivating Factors Among TESOL Professionals Writing in English for Publication From South America”. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, vol. 26, no. 1, Feb. 2024, pp. 31-48, doi:10.15446/profile.v26n1.108198.

Turabian

Banegas, Darío Luis, and María Elisa Romano. “(De)Motivating Factors Among TESOL Professionals Writing in English for Publication From South America”. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development 26, no. 1 (February 2, 2024): 31–48. Accessed March 1, 2024. https://revistas.unal.edu.co/index.php/profile/article/view/108198.

Vancouver

1.
Banegas DL, Romano ME. (De)Motivating Factors Among TESOL Professionals Writing in English for Publication From South America. Profile: Issues Teach. Prof. Dev. [Internet]. 2024 Feb. 2 [cited 2024 Mar. 1];26(1):31-48. Available from: https://revistas.unal.edu.co/index.php/profile/article/view/108198

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