Discourse Versus Corpus Analysis in Materials Design: A Case Study

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Michael Guest, University of Miyazaki


In this paper I argue that a discourse analysis approach may be preferable when applying corpus data to the development of teaching materials. This argument is based on a combination of my research and subsequent classroom experience. Having initially taken a corpus analysis (CA) approach to nursing English speech data collected from 3 Asia-based hospitals, and applying some of the findings directly to nursing English classroom materials, I noted that student responses to these initial corpus-based materials were not positive. Subsequently, the materials were drastically revised using a discourse-analysis (DA) approach, that is, by first establishing and utilizing wider categories of discourse to provide meaningful frames for the content applied to the materials. The resultant student response to the revised materials was much more positive. This experience suggests that when applying authentic data for the purpose of developing EFL classroom materials, a DA-based approach may be more effective.