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.



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Dear British Council,
I am very thankful to this section. I am happy to find this section also, which is very helpful to improve in writing. 
With regards,

Thank you for your help

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Hello Zuthi,
Welcome to LearnEnglish!  I hope we can help you to achieve your goals.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

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Hello sarra!
We're always very happy to hear that people find our website useful. Good luck with your studies, and enjoy your stay on LearnEnglish!
Best wishes
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

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