Writing for engineering
A comparison of student and industry texts
Professional engineers must move easily between concretization and abstraction in written communication, while remaining rooted in the context of the particular engineering problem to be solved. Engineering programmes often seek to use a replicated professional situation in order to prepare students for the workplace; however, there are questions as to how a decontextualized task prepares students for the language and knowledge requirements of the field. This paper reports on the findings of a Master’s research project, which investigated this issue through a comparison of two sets of engineering feasibility studies: publicly available industry texts and English as an Additional Language (EAL) student texts from a Master’s engineering program. The findings show that while the corpora have some similarities, there are differences that suggest that the student texts are less bound to the concrete reality of their project, which has implications for those working in disciplinary and professional literacies.
Keywords: engineering education, engineering communication skills, professional writing, Systemic Functional Linguistics, Legitimation Code Theory
Published online: 13 January 2020
Australian Education International (AEI)
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