Mediational means in written academic discourse: the construction and communication of knowledge in different disciplines

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2006
End date: 31/12/2008
Funding: 2638000 SEK


The aim of this project is to study mediational means in written academic discourse. By mediational means we mean the linguistic and semiotic resoruces which the professional researcher uses when writing and doing research (e.g. presenting, discussing, evaluating etc.), i.e. when constructing and communicating knowledge within the discipline. The theoretical framework of the study is sociocultural theory according to Vygotsky, Wertsch and Scollon. The starting point of the study is that academic disciplines differ, and, accordlingly, that mediational means are discipline specific. However, we also assume that the means represent a form of silent knowledge that the researcher posesses, i.e. the means are an important part of the researcher’s genre knowledge. It is therefore important to uncover these means. By doing so we should achieve a better understanding of the role of language in the process of knowledge production and construction as well as a better understandning of how we could convey this silent genre knowledge to our students. Five different disciplines from three faculties will be studied, viz. mechanical engineering (focus: technical design) and building management within the faculty of technology, scandinavian languages and media and communication studies within the humanities, and law studies within the faculty of law. The methods used will be interviews and discourse analysis.

Last updated on 2017-31-03 at 12:57