METM15 plenary talk

Some recent corpus-based approaches to researching, teaching and supporting scholarly writing


Professor John Flowerdew, City University of Hong Kong

In this plenary talk I will present three projects I have been working on recently using corpus-based techniques, all of which have relevance to writing for scholarly publication, the editing of such outputs and the provision of support for those involved in writing for research .

The first of these projects concerns a corpus-based study of signalling nouns, abstract nouns like argument, fact, idea, and problem, which are very important in establishing cohesive academic English. I will provide some data from a recent large-scale project focussing on the behaviour of these nouns.

The second project is an experimental, classroom-based approach to the teaching of research writing involving data-driven learning, a computer-based approach to language learning in which the task of the learner is to "discover" the target language. I will describe how, with a colleague, I went about designing and teaching this course.

The third project is a larger scale one in which I am working with a small team to introduce the data-driven learning approach to research writing to all research students in Hong Kong. I will describe the rationale and state of play with this project and suggest how others involved in supporting writing for research purposes might apply a similar approach. In my talk, I thus hope to appeal to both the MET and the PRISEAL audiences.

John Flowerdew is a Professor in the Department of English, City University of Hong Kong. As well as writing and editing a number of books, including five edited collections on academic discourse, he has published widely in the leading Applied Linguistics, Language Teaching and Discourse Analysis journals, focusing on academic and political discourse. One of his main areas of interest is writing for publication. His most recent book (with R. Forest) is Signalling nouns in English (2015, CUP).
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