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Genre Families: Introduction

The 13 types of student writing that the BAWE (British Academic Written English Corpus) research has identified can be related to the five Primary Purposes as explained earlier.

Primary Purpose

Genre Family

Demonstrating Knowledge & Understanding1. Demonstrating Knowledge and Understanding.



Building Research Skills2. Building Research Skills.

Literature SurveysLiterature Surveys

Methodology RecountsMethodology Recounts

Research ReportsResearch Reports

Developing Powers of Independent Reasoning3. Developing Powers of Independent Reasoning.



Writing for Oneself & Others4. Writing for Oneself and Others.

Event RecountsEvent Recounts

Public EngagementPublic Engagement

Preparing for Professional Practice5. Preparing for Professional Practice.

Case StudiesCase Studies

Design SpecificationsDesign Specifications

Problem QuestionsProblem Questions


Try Tasks 1, 2, 3 and 4 to familiarise yourself with this classification.

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 Primary Purposes. We hope it will 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 Genre Families.

Task 1

Match the icons with the Genre Families.


Task 2

Drag the Genre Families - in blue - into the correct column of Primary Purposes below.


Task 3

Select the correct Genre Families from the list that belong to the Primary Purposes shown at the top of the exercise.



Is "Writing for a Purpose" suitable for British post-graduated studies? To be specific in MBA program.

The short answer is yes! There are 31 Business assignments in the BAWE corpus from the final year of undergraduate study, and 50 at Masters level. All these assignments gained high marks. They are mostly Case Studies, Critiques and Essays, but there are some examples of other genres too. The Writing for a Purpose materials are based on our findings from analysis of assignments in the BAWE corpus.
When you are given an MBA writing task, try to work out what its purpose is, and what genre the assignment should belong to. You will probably find that the 'Writing for a Purpose' sections relating to 'developing powers of independent reasoning' and 'preparing for professional practice' are particularly useful to you.
On some pages in the materials there are direct links to examples of words and phrases in Business assignments  - see for example .
If you want to know more about the BAWE corpus go to .
I wish you every success in your studies.
The Writing for a Purpose Team

Thank you so much indeed.