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The Role of Corpora for Research and Pedagogy in the Domain of Thesis Writing

Venue: Birkbeck Main Building

In this presentation Dr Lynne Flowerdew will review recent key corpus-based, research-oriented studies on thesis writing, the findings of which have important implications for pedagogy. 

Thesis writing (used here as an umbrella term to cover both masters and doctoral postgraduate-level writing) is an important academic genre, which has been well-researched from a corpus perspective. Most of these studies are of a contrastive nature, investigating apprentice vs. expert writing, disciplinary differences and cross-linguistic/cross-cultural differences.

Dr Flowerdew will then discuss corpus-based pedagogic initiatives for postgraduate thesis writing, including a workshop she conducted on writing the discussion section of a thesis. Various issues such as the choice of corpora for data-driven learning activities and the starting point for corpus searches will be discussed. However, while the findings of corpus-based research and the use of corpora for pedagogy have much to contribute to the domain of thesis writing and, more generally, to the field of EAP, it is argued that they can usefully be complemented by more ethnographic perspectives.

Dr Flowerdew will conclude the presentation by outlining some avenues for future research and pedagogic applications on the use of academic corpora for postgraduate thesis writing.  


Dr Lynne Flowerdew’s main research and teaching interests include corpus linguistics, English for Specific Purposes and disciplinary postgraduate writing. She has published widely in these areas in international journals and edited collections and has also authored and co-authored several books. She is currently an Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London, UK.

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