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Narratives in Academic and Professional Genres

Series:

Maurizio Gotti and Carmen Sancho Guinda

This book received the Enrique Alcaraz Research Award in 2015.

Through Narrative Theory, the book offers an engaging panorama of the construction of specialised discourses and practices within academia and diverse professional communities. Its chapters investigate genres from various fields, such as aircraft accident reports, clinical cases and other scientific observations, academic conferences, academic blogs, climate-change reports, university decision-making in public meetings, patients’ oral and written accounts of illness, corporate annual reports, journalistic obituaries, university websites, narratives of facts in legal cases, narrative processes in arbitration hearings, briefs, and witness examination accounts. In addition to exploring narration in this wide range of contexts, the volume uses narrative as a powerful tool to gain a methodological insight into professional and academic accounts, and thus it contributes to research into theoretical issues. Under the lens of Narratology, Discourse and Genre Analysis, fresh research windows are opened on the study of academic and professional interactions.

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LUISA CAIAZZO Factual Reporting in the ‘About’ Page of British University Websites - 257

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LUISA CAIAZZO Factual Reporting in the ‘About’ Page of British University Websites 1. Introduction The ‘About’ page plays a relevant role in the general framework of a website, in that it provides a quick overview of the characteristics and goals of a company, organization or institution. Recognized as a web genre in studies geared towards information retrieval and web genres classification (Santini 2008, Rhem et al 2008), it has so far received little attention in relation to its discursive features. Although a full ac- count of the meaning making of the page as a whole has to consider the wide range of attendant modalities at stake (Kress/van Leeuwen 2006, Bateman 2008), the verbal component plays an important, in some cases still prominent, role. With reference to the language of university websites, which can be seen to fall into the category that Biber (2006) labels ‘institu- tional writing’ in his analysis of university registers, previous research (Benwell/Stokoe 2006, Caiazzo 2011b) has shown that the ‘About’ pages of British university websites mainly display informative and descriptive texts. Often produced by committees (like other types of institutional writing), these texts are addressed to prospective students, but also to academic and non-academic staff (Melewar/Akel 2005). However, beyond the informative surface of the text, the general pro- file of the university outlined is conveyed through promotional strate- gies such as evaluative adjectives and stance devices (Caiazzo 2009, 2011a). This is a feature that can be related to the process of ‘market- ization’ (Fairclough 1993, Mautner...

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