Presentation Type

Poster

Subjects

Corpora (Linguistics), Civil engineering -- Authorship, Technical writing, Discourse analysis, Communication in engineering

Department

Applied Linguistics

Advisor

Susan Conrad

Student Level

Masters

Abstract

Most Civil Engineering (CE) students want to work in the industry when they graduate, but often only have experience with academic writing contexts. The Civil Engineering Writing Project (CEWP) was created to assist CE professors in preparing students for professional writing. Using computer-assisted analysis techniques, I examined papers collected through the CEWP to analyze how formulaic language was being used by students and current practitioners, as well as academic researchers. Specifically, I looked for n-grams, which are same-length phrases found at a higher frequency in the text than other phrases, for example, “as a function of” or “in order to determine”. These n-grams are not jargon, rather the building blocks of writing. Our corpus consisted of 119 student reports, 117 practitioner reports, and 50 research papers. I categorized the n-grams as either referential, stance, or text organizers based on their function in the text. I compared the overall proportion of each category by genre then looked specifically at the most common bundles as well. I learned, for example, students used a lower percentage of referential bundles than both practitioners and researchers, and researchers infrequently used stance bundles. Informed by data like this, teachers can more accurately equip students to write as expected in their future careers.

Please provide feedback: https://forms.gle/d3KBoaTUQZoBaXrJ7

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/35421

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A Comparison of Formulaic Language in Student, Researcher, and Practitioner Reports in Civil Engineering

Most Civil Engineering (CE) students want to work in the industry when they graduate, but often only have experience with academic writing contexts. The Civil Engineering Writing Project (CEWP) was created to assist CE professors in preparing students for professional writing. Using computer-assisted analysis techniques, I examined papers collected through the CEWP to analyze how formulaic language was being used by students and current practitioners, as well as academic researchers. Specifically, I looked for n-grams, which are same-length phrases found at a higher frequency in the text than other phrases, for example, “as a function of” or “in order to determine”. These n-grams are not jargon, rather the building blocks of writing. Our corpus consisted of 119 student reports, 117 practitioner reports, and 50 research papers. I categorized the n-grams as either referential, stance, or text organizers based on their function in the text. I compared the overall proportion of each category by genre then looked specifically at the most common bundles as well. I learned, for example, students used a lower percentage of referential bundles than both practitioners and researchers, and researchers infrequently used stance bundles. Informed by data like this, teachers can more accurately equip students to write as expected in their future careers.

Please provide feedback: https://forms.gle/d3KBoaTUQZoBaXrJ7