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Professional and Academic Discourse Module

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1 Professional and Academic Discourse Module
Genres of written academic discourse

2 What sort of written academic discourse?
‘Professional academic’ genres e.g. research articles, conference abstracts Student disciplinary genres, e.g. undergraduate or postgraduate writing in university disciplines Language learner genres, e.g. IELTS writing, writing on EAP courses School student genres, e.g. narratives, explanations etc.

3 Traditions of genre analysis
Hyon, S Genre in three traditions: Implications for ESL. TESOL Quarterly 30: English for Specific Purposes tradition (Swales, 1990, 2004; Dudley Evans, 1994; Vergaro, 2002; Bhatia, 1993) Systemic Functional Linguistics tradition (Martin et al. 1997; Martin, 2009; Christie, 2008; Paltridge, 2007) North American New Rhetoric tradition (Miller, 1984: Bazerman, 1988; Berkenkotter & Huckin, 1995; Freedman & Medway, 1994; Devitt, 2004)

4 English for specific purposes
 Primacy of communicative purpose as a defining characteristic Preference for macro-structural analysis Understanding of macro structure in terms of moves Focuses on discourse communities as producers of genres For teaching: focuses on ESP/ EAP specialisms and relatively structured texts

5 Systemic functional linguistics
Highlights linguistic features that characterize different genres Uses systemic functional grammar as an analysis tool Considers micro and macro patterns of language Uses context to as an explanation for the linguistic choices observed For teaching: focuses on school students and ‘novices’

6 North American New Rhetoric
Genre as action and social tradition Looking at context at least as much as text Focus on the social action that a genre is used to accomplish Ethnographic methods For teaching: goes ‘beyond the text’

7 Genre analysis today Increasingly mingles elements of all three ‘traditions’ Which allows for creativity in analysis, but arguably creates a problem when it comes to defining and labelling genres. When assessing similarity and difference, should we look at: Similarities of form? Similarities of communicative purpose? Similarities of contexts of production and reception?

8 Categorising genres in corpora
BAWE Genre Family Labels Case study Critique Design specification Empathy writing Essay Exercise Explanation Literature survey Methodology recount Narrative recount Problem question Proposal Research report MICUSP paper categories Argumentative essay Creative writing Critique/Evaluation Proposal Report Research paper Response paper

9 Locating textual examples of genres: what if the label does not fit?
Example 1: Reflective accounts Definition: writing which is produced for formal evaluation in an educational course and which requires the writer to: narrate personal experience; comment on associated feelings; appraise their performance; discuss what they have learned; and relate the learning to some aspect of future action Under what categories might you look for such texts in BAWE and in MICUSP?

10 Example 2: Undergraduate Engineering Laboratory Reports
Definition: an account of what an undergraduate engineering student has done before, during and after one of her or his ‘laboratories’; i.e. writing produced in years 1-3 of a degree course in Engineering, in response to a practice-based session held in a specialist environment, using Engineering tools and techniques. Again, where might you look for such texts in BAWE and in MICUSP?

11 A solution for BAWE: the UELR flowchart

12 Textual indicators of ‘laboratory report’
Exophoric references to lab activities e.g. “… In this materials and production assignments associated with the mechanical testing laboratory, six types of metal specimens were available to test with the Hounsfield Type W Hand Tensometer. The aim of the experiments was to develop an understanding of the standard tensile test, to study the mechanical properties of some important engineering materials, to obtain values for the yield stress…” (BAWE Text ID 0254c) First person (or first person plural) pronoun (i.e. ‘I’ or ‘We’) + active verb forms e.g. “… I calculated the current to be 22.mA from the simulated circuit characteristic (Figure 1 – Appendix) with a 240 resister was in series with the diode and the supply voltage was 6V” (BAWE Text ID 0342b). Authentic graphs and tables that students created using a specialist software after a series of ‘laboratories’ . Authentic photographs which were taken by students using their own camera during Authentic 2 or 3 D (dimensional) drawings – manually or using computers during and/or after ‘laboratories’. Authentic mathematical calculations by students using their data which they collected during a series of ‘laboratories’ . Authentic computer (or machine) codes which have been generated by students using specialist machines or computer software packages such as MATLAB and SIMULUS .

13 Analysing texts within genres
Macro level approach: the structure of the texts, the purposes of the moves, how this relates to the purposes of the genre. Micro level approach: distribution of specific linguistic features in the genre, and how this relates to the purposes of the genre. Tends to be done comparatively.

14 Some suggested procedures for going about a move-based genre analysis (Biber, Connor, Upton & Kanoksilapatham 2007: 34) Step 1: Determine the rhetorical purpose of the genre Step 2: Determine the rhetorical function of each text segment in its local context; identify the possible move types of the genre. Step 3: Group functional and/or semantic themes that are either in relative proximity to each other or often occur in similar locations in representative texts. These reflect the specific steps that can be used to realise a broader move. Step 4: Conduct a pilot-coding to test and fine-tune the definitions of move purposes. Step 5: Develop coding protocol with clear definitions and examples of move types and steps. Step 6: Code full set of texts, with inter-rater reliability check to confirm that there is a clear understanding of move definitions and moves/steps are realised in texts. Step 7: Add any additional steps and/or moves that are revealed in the full analysis. Step 8: Revise coding protocol to resolve any discrepancies revealed by the inter-rater reliability check or by the newly ‘discovered’ moves/steps, and re-code problematic areas. Step 9: Conduct linguistic analysis of move features and/or other corpus-facilitated analyses. Step 10: Describe corpus of texts in terms of typical and alternate move structures and linguistic characteristics.

15 Procedures for going about a micro-level genre analysis
Have an analytic framework as a starting point Establish comparative corpora Qualitatively code instances of the features you are focusing on Quantitatively count them Look at what the features are doing in each corpus

16 An example: Hyland 2005 ch5, Metadiscourse and Genre
A comparison of metadiscourse in textbooks and research articles: Reasons for the differences could be because the textbooks do more explicit teaching and guiding of readers, where the research article writers do more work to position the writer vis a vis the audience….? Textbooks Research articles Items per 1000 words % of total Interactive metadiscourse 49.1 71.7 34.8 52.6 Interactional metadiscourse 19.4 28.3 31.4 47.4

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