From text to corpus - A genre-based approach to academic literacy instruction

Chris Tribble, Ursula Wingate*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Widening participation in Higher Education and a dramatic increase in the recruitment of overseas students has led to an urgent need for academic institutions to recognise the literacy demands they make of their students, and to respond to these students' learning needs. In this paper we report on the first phase of a discipline-specific academic writing project at King's College London. The instructional approach takes as its starting point the assessed academic genres which students have to write. Working within the tradition of genre based approaches to academic writing instruction, we have used the KCL Apprentice Writing Corpus to provide a databank of exemplars. These texts, along with grading and feedback information from academic departments, and input from disciplinary specialists, have provided the basis for discipline-specific writing courses which focus on strategically important assessed disciplinary genres (Critical Assignments in Applied Linguistics, and Laboratory Reports in Pharmacy). In this paper we discuss issues in corpus compilation, the selection of exemplars, and the rationale which has informed the development of the teaching resources. We also provide examples from the workshops offered as part of the courses. The paper concludes with a brief account of the evaluation of the courses a discussion of how corpus informed materials are being developed to extend the project in its second phase.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)307-321
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • Academic literacies
  • Academic writing
  • Corpus
  • Disciplinary discourse
  • Genre
  • EAP
  • Writing instruction


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