Data commentary in science writing: Using a small, specialized corpus for formative self-assessment practices
Book chapter, 2015
Data commentary, the verbal comment on visual material, is a complex area in science writing; yet, few studies in academic writing focus on it. This chapter presents an approach to the teaching and learning of data commentary in ESP writing within the science disciplines involving direct application of a small, specialized corpus of data commentaries drawn from published research articles and master’s theses, all annotated for rhetorical moves. We exemplify how formative self-assessment practices of data commentaries can be developed from corpus-informed computer-assisted learning activities combining top-down discourse analysis with bottom-up corpus analysis, and outline a methodology for self-assessment practices. Our approach illustrates how a specialized corpus and purposefully crafted learning activities can assist students in continuous self-assessment practices. Such facilitation is of crucial value today as pedagogical and curricular developments in science education increasingly emphasize students’ awareness of communicative practices.