From Yeshiva to Academia: The Argumentative Writing Characteristics of Ultra-Orthodox Male Students

Ehud Tsemach*, Anat Zohar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This study compares the argumentative writing characteristics of students from different sociocultural backgrounds. We focused on Jewish ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) students, educated in a segregated religious school for boys (yeshiva), who are now attempting to integrate in secular higher education in Israel. To better understand the unique characteristics of this population, we reviewed 92 essays written by Haredi students, and compared them with 76 essays by public education (PE) graduates. Our analysis was based on the cognitive and sociocultural perspectives of argumentation. Both bottom-up and top-down criteria were used to elicit the argumentative writing characteristics either emerging from the data or based on existing theories. Our primary findings indicate that Haredi students have distinct argumentative characteristics, including the use of more complex and dialectic arguments and unique persuasive tactics. These findings are discussed in light of previous research on yeshiva learning methods and recommendations are provided for adjusting the existing higher education curricula to suit both PE and Haredi students.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)457-481
Number of pages25
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Nature B.V.


  • Argumentation
  • Persuasive writing
  • Socio-scientific issues
  • Sociocultural
  • Ultra-Orthodox


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