If you are studying in a British university you will be required to do a large amount of writing, whatever your subject. Some people distinguish between "essays" and "reports", and you may also know some other names for written assignments. However, sometimes the same name is used for very different types of assignment, and different names are used for very similar types of assignment.

Some of these assignments are more common in some disciplines than in others. For example, in business Case Studies are very common, in law Problem Questions are very common, while in history and philosophy Essays are very common.

Three thousand examples of proficient British university assignments from more than 30 disciplines, such as business, engineering, law, biology, sociology and history have been collected. These form the BAWE corpus. By analysing these assignments 13 basic Genre Families of student writing can be identified and each one has been given a specific name.

The 13 Genre Families are:

Here is some more information about the background to identifying these Genre Families.

Note that the names that have been given to these assignment families have very specific meanings on this site, but you will probably find that your lecturers and your fellow students use these names much more loosely – they may for example call most written assignments "essays", and they may use the terms "essay" and "report"  interchangeably.

Try this Task to check that you understand about the BAWE project.


Task 1

Choose the correct answers for these questions about the project.



Thanks for your huge efforts that's help me a lot to learn English and practice it anytime which i want.

Hello khulood mohamed,

Thank you very much for your lovely comment! It's great to know that we're helping people.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Dear The Learn English Team ,
i'm preparing for a final exam and i need some documents and materials about Applied Linguistics and TEFL. I would be very grateful if you help me. You can just send me some links or PDF books related to the topics.

Hello sousan,

LearnEnglish is a site for learners of English and not teachers, so this is really outside of our area. I suggest you try our sister-site, Teaching English, which is aimed at teachers of English and should be able to help you.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

To, British Council

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hi team! i'm new here, as i just found out this page, it's really helpful and LearnEnglish Team is incredible friendly, kind and polite.. thanks you so much for doing this.

hello team
i have a question,
i want writing english
how can i start ?, can you help me writing?

Hello vinh tram nguyen,

Welcome to LearnEnglish! On our Help pages we have put together our best advice for people learning English, including on how to best improve writing. Take a look at it here.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I looked at "assignment" in dictionary what I saw was it is some kind of a job needs to be handled in an amount of a time but in here it has been meant like some kind of petition or something to sum up can it be used as the meaning of petition?

Hello Metin,

An assignment in this context refers to work that a teacher assigns to a student. I'm not sure what dictionary you used, but I'd recommend using the Cambridge Dictionary, where you'll see the first meaning listed is the one I explain and which is the way the word is used on this page. The word 'petition' has a meaning that is different; although it can mean 'request', it is only rarely used in that way.

I hope this helps.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team