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Learning to disseminate Computer Science: Who is the real expert here?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
2013 (English)In: The 2013 Swedish Symposium for LSP / LAP: Investigating relationships between teaching, learning, and research, 2013, 5-5 p.Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Researchers who obtain external funding for their projects are increasingly under pressure to make their findings available to the general public (Wilson, 2003). In fact, dissemination is a recurring aim in most calls for applications from national and European funding agencies. In this context, being able to produce popularised texts has become a much needed skill to progress in academia and to communicate in professional contexts. Traditionally, popularisation has been seen as unidirectional and hierarchical. Researchers and science journalists were considered to be the source of information for their lay audiences (Corbett, 2006) and expert knowledge had to be “translated” for the general public. However, other voices claim that, in some cases, the public’s expertise may be higher than expected (Myers, 2003), which might call for a different approach to the popularisation of science. Thus, there is a need for more research in this field and for the development of teaching strategies and materials aimed at improving researchers’ skills in popularisation. Computer Science, with its wide range of specialisations, provides an interesting case for this kind of research. We have found that in some areas within this discipline, the boundaries between the experts and the general public are sometimes unclear, and lowering the level of technicality may not always be the best approach. Our study aims to explore the rhetorical and multimodal strategies used in academic and popularised publications, particularly in relation to the construction of the author’s identity and to the establishment of a social relation with the audience. Our data include academic and outreach texts written by the same authors. Both academic and popularisation texts deal with the same topics, so as to ensure alignment in the data analysis. The samples also include new media in the form of videos. Thus, our study seeks to identify different strategies used in the context of popularised publications in cases where the boundaries between the expert and the lay audience are not so clear. Our findings suggest that using a contrastive approach to the teaching of academic versus popular writing can contribute to the development of genre awareness and rhetorical flexibility for different audiences. Learning to write on the same subject in different genres encourages students to develop their own voices and to better position themselves and their research in different contexts. To conclude, we present some pedagogical applications.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. 5-5 p.
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-96356OAI: diva2:665501
The 2013 Swedish Symposium for LSP/LAP: Investigating relationships between teaching, learning, and research, January 17-18, 2013, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Available from: 2013-11-20 Created: 2013-11-20 Last updated: 2013-12-03Bibliographically approved

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Garcia-Yeste, MiguelKuteeva, MariaVerhagen, Harko
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Department of EnglishDepartment of Computer and Systems Sciences
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