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From genre family to multidimensional analysis in British Academic English: Integrating approaches

In this seminar, Professor Sheena Gardner of University of Coventry provides a multidimensional analysis of academic writing relevant across disciplines.

  • 31 Oct 2018, 4.15pm to 31 Oct 2018, 5.45pm GMT
  • 6 West, 1.1, University of Bath
  • This event is free

The British Academic Written English (BAWE) corpus is a collection of almost three thousand successful university student assignments from four universities in England.

In her paper, Professor Sheena Gardner outlines its composition, and explains how 13 genre families were identified in the corpus, informed by ‘top-down’ evidence from the local and national contexts, and a holistic reading of the texts, to identify similarities in purpose and staging across disciplines and levels of study.

During the seminar, she will further explain how a bespoke multidimensional analysis was conducted that identifies clusters of lexico-grammatical features in texts, using a ‘bottom-up’ multidimensional analysis. Issues in reconciling these two very different approaches to descriptions of academic writing will be discussed.

The BAWE corpus can be freely accessed by teachers and learners through SketchEngine/Open Corpora, and can be requested for research purposes from the Oxford Text Archive. It is cited in over 100 publications, in addition to student theses and conference presentations. Find our more about BAWE.

Speaker profiles

Sheena Gardner is a Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Coventry. Her research uses systemic functional, corpus and genre-based approaches to investigate academic English.

Her recent publications include Systemic Functional Linguistics in the Digital Age co-edited with Siân Alsop and Discipline, level, genre: Integrating situational perspectives in a new MD analysis of university student writing co-authored with Hilary Nesi and Doug Biber.


6 West, 1.1 University of Bath Claverton Down Bath BA2 7AY United Kingdom


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