Understanding Noun Phrases in Academic Writing

Step 1: Look at the noun phrases below. They are all about psychological services. Categorize each part of the noun phrases below in the table.


  1. the school-based and family focused psychological services


  1. a survey of the psychological services provided in schools


  1. the challenges of providing appropriate psychological services


  1. psychological services in schools to address the concerns and reported problems of children of OFW parents


  1. the gaps between what the OFW’s children need and what psychological services have been offered to them in school settings


  1. specialists in the provision of psychological services to children and youth within the contexts of schools, families, and other settings that impact their growth and development


  1. the services and interventions that address the concerns and issues of Filipino families brought about by the separation of children from their parents



  1. the functions of school psychologists as described by Watkins, Crosby, and Pearson (2001) and Farrell, Jimerson, and Kalambouka (2005), including psycho-educational assessment, counseling, working with teachers to assist in developing programs for students with special needs, crisis intervention, behavior management, consultation with school personnel and parents in formulating intervention plans, educating and training parents and staff


Determiner Pre-modification Head Noun Post-modification




Step 2:


In your group, copy and paste 3 noun phrases from the section of the article about ‘Community intervention’ in the table below:


Community interventions. There are also several non-government organizations assisting Filipino migrants and their families but they do not directly provide psychological services. One non-government agency (NGO) in Metro Manila is able to

provide a structured programme to children of OFW families coming from different

provinces. The NGO’s primary goals are to help the children cope with the

absence of their parents, and to help them improve their social skills. They also aim

to help the children of OFW families gain understanding of their situation, unearth

their emotions, ease their pain, learn to forgive and rediscover love. However, such programmes seem to have low utilization rate. (edited for ENGH121)



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In your group, copy and paste 3 noun phrases from the section of the article about ‘Family intervention’ in the table below:


  • Family interventions. In most cases, relatives take over and become more involved in care giving to compensate for parental absence. Close relationship established with their parents before they migrated, support from the extended family, regular communication with their migrant parents, and a sense of hope that their family will be together again, are some of the factors that promote resilience among left behind children. Regular and frequent communication with migrant parents helps the children cope with loneliness and sadness. Modern technologies that allow quick and cheap communication, and migrant parents’ success in negotiating care-giving from a distance, are important factors for the children of migrant workers. Modern technology helps in providing easy, fast and low-cost communication between members of transnational families. The most common means of maintaining close family ties is the cellular phone, followed by the landline telephone, as well as emails and video calls. (edited for ENGH121)



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In your group, copy and paste 3 noun phrases from the section of the article about ‘School intervention’ in the table below:


School interventions. Ehrhardt-Padgett, Hatzichristou, Kitson, and Meyers (2003) ascertained that using results of intervention assessment as data, and having well-constructed methodologies for research may improve the services that school psychologists provide to address their students’ educational and mental health needs. Similarly, they recognized the value of school psychologists working with other professionals such as teachers, school counsellors, administrators, and the students’ families. Working with them allows school psychologists to determine alternative and creative solutions, and to maximize existing interventions. Spoth, Randall, and Shin

(2008) substantiated the benefits of school-family partnerships on students’ academic

success. Family socialization and the youth’s positive perception of their relationships with parents and teachers foster socio-emotional development, which in turn encourages school engagement and better academic performance. It is nonetheless important to note that children must be open to their parents being involved in school activities for the partnership to have an impact on their development (Deslandes & Cloutier, 2002). In the Philippines, children’s peer groups and their participation in school activities also help them cope with the emotional impact of being left behind by parents (Edillon, 2008; Melgar & Borromeo, 2002). Children feel a sense of belongingness and positive involvement when they are given the opportunity to affiliate with their peers and when they take part in school activities. (edited for ENGH121)


Determiner Pre-modification Head Noun Post-modification

Step 3: Discuss the following questions in groups:

  1. Why are some noun phrases longer than others?
  2. Are the noun phrases above very specific or very general?
  3. What makes a noun phrase specific or general?
  4. How do the authors add information to the head noun? Be specific.
  5. Is there a lot of repetition within the noun phrases above? Why/why not?