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Genre Families: Assignment Brief

You will remember that the 13 types of student writing the BAWE (British Academic Written English Corpus) research has identified are often referred to as Genres or Genre Families. They are related to five Primary Purposes as explained earlier.

Primary Purpose

Genre Family

1. Demonstrating Knowledge and Understanding.

Explanations; Exercises

2. Building Research Skills.

Literature Surveys, Methodology Recounts, Research Reports

3. Developing Powers of Independent Reasoning.

Essays;  Critiques

4. Writing for Oneself and Others.

Event Recounts; Public Engagement

5. Preparing for Professional Practice.

Case Studies; Design Specifications; Problem Questions; Proposals

Assignment Brief

When you are writing it is important to know which Genre Family you need to use. The assignment briefs, questions or titles that you are given by your lecturer can help you. 

In Tasks 1, 2 and 3, you will be asked to identify the Genre Families of some assignments by looking at their titles. In Task 4, you are asked to choose the correct verb in the brief, according to the Genre Family you need to write.

The purpose of these exercises is to familiarise you with the five Primary Purposes of academic writing and the 13 Genre Families associated with these purposes. This should help you to select the most appropriate Genre Family for your writing task.

Further sections of this site will help you to write these texts, but the present purpose is simply to familiarise you with these genres.

Task 1

Match the assignment brief (in grey) with the Genre Family (in blue).


Task 2

Drag the correct word to the correct sentence according to the Genre Family given.


Task 3

Decide if the following assignment briefs make sense according to the Genre Family given.


Task 4

Choose the correct verb according to the Genre Family that is required.



Why the answer of question 1 shouldn't is "B Describe"? In an Essay, could you introduce and/or describe "the relative merits of different exchange rate regimes" at first and then "explain why your own country has chosen the regime it has."? What is the different about using "A Discuss" and "B Describe" in here?

I can't pass this test. Is it possible to rearrange the format to see nicely ? I got problems to drag the answer to the box I wanted

Hi Sarihui,

I'm sorry you find it difficult to make the exercise work. In the future, we will be changing our exercises to a different format, which should make this one easier to navigate, but I'm afraid we just don't know when that will be yet. In the meantime, the only suggestion I can think of is to write your answers in order on a piece of paper. Then, if you click on 'Finish', you can see the correct answers and can compare them to your answers on paper.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team