Corpus-Based Genre Analysis in Writing Research and Pedagogy

Event Date:
March 24th 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Presented by J. Elliott Casal, Research Scholar, Department of Cognitive Science, Case Western Reserve University 

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Portrait photo of J. Elliott Casal

Abstract: Research on discipline specific written genre-practices and related genre-based writing pedagogies have increasingly integrated corpus-based approaches to linguistic form with rhetorical approaches to writers’ functional aims. Such research draws on developments in genre theory, usage-based approaches to language learning, and at times Sociocultural Theory to analyze and teach linguistic resources in terms of their functional affordances for situated communicative practices, often with an emphasis on discipline specific academic genre practices. This talk outlines the emerging body of corpus-based genre analysis research and related pedagogical intervention studies targeting novice disciplinary writers. In doing so, I use my doctoral dissertation (Casal, 2020) as an illustrative example of both corpus-based genre analysis research and corpus- and genre-based writing pedagogy. Emphasis is placed on the genre analysis, in which a set of formal linguistic features (reporting verbs, shell nouns, formulaic phrase-frames, and select measures of syntactically complex structures) were analyzed using a series of manual processes, custom python scripts, and automated NLP/corpus tools across the rhetorical stages (operationalized as rhetorical moves) of 400 published research article introductions from two social science disciplines and two engineering disciplines. The talk will also briefly outline a related corpus- and concept-based pedagogical intervention which was carried out in a doctoral academic writing course.