A pedagogic and professional Case Study genre and register continuum in Business and in Medicine

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14 Citations (Scopus)


When students write Case Study assignments at university, they face the demands of the academy and of the profession. This paper explores the choices successful students of Business and Medicine make to meet these competing demands at the levels of genre, register and language. In Case Study genres individual cases, such as a specific company or a patient, are analysed using frameworks accepted within the relevant disciplines. In our classification (Gardner and Nesi 2013), which was developed through analysis of the British Academic Written English (BAWE) corpus of successful student writing, Case Study genres also include a recommendation stage. This paper identifies five genres along a pedagogic to professional continuum. It shows how their registers are shaped by the institutional practices of the discipline (Field), by the competing student and professional roles of the writer (Tenor) and by the action orientation of the text (Mode). Wordings of recommendations retrieved through corpus analysis and interpreted from Systemic Functional Linguistic perspectives as choices within systems bring to light the multifaceted nature of recommendations, as well as disciplinary differences in their prosody and ownership. This study will be of interest to those involved in teaching academic writing, as well as those seeking to understand how professional roles and contexts are construed in texts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-35
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice (JALPP)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • advice
  • Case Study
  • systemic functional linguistics (SFL)
  • corpus
  • recommendations
  • student writing


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