Corpus-supported academic writing: how can technology help?

Published on Dec 2, 2015
· DOI :10.21256/ZHAW-4336
Madalina Chitez3
Estimated H-index: 3
(Zurich University of Applied Sciences/ZHAW),
Christian Rapp4
Estimated H-index: 4
(Zurich University of Applied Sciences/ZHAW),
Otto Kruse6
Estimated H-index: 6
(Zurich University of Applied Sciences/ZHAW)
Phraseology has long been used in L2 teaching of academic writing, and corpus linguistics has played a major role in the compilation and assessment of academic phrases. However, there are only a few interactive academic writing tools in which corpus methodology is implemented in a real-time design to support formulation processes. In this paper, we describe several corpus-related methods that we have developed and implemented as part of an interactive thesis-writing tool, Thesis Writer, designed and constructed jointly by the Language Competence Centre and the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland. Thesis Writer (TW) hosts several linguistic- support tools and is designed in its first pilot version to support thesis writing in economics with the help of two self-compiled corpora in English and German. Students can access the corpora directly via the IMS Open Corpus Workbench or via a pre-selected collection of central rhetorical elements through the phrase book. Several search options and tutorials have been tested and included into the TW platform: the corpus simple search tool, the corpus syntactic search tool, and the academic phrasebook. In the case of the latter, a new methodology led to the identification of lists of phrases distributed in research-cycle sections of the thesis.
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