How is this book organised? - Introduction

Vocabulary and English for Specific Purposes Research - Averil Coxhead 2018

How is this book organised?

The book is organised into three main parts. The first part contains the first three chapters, and they focus on different aspects of research into vocabulary in ESP. Chapter 2 looks at approaches to identifying vocabulary in ESP, from corpus-based approaches with quantitative measures through to qualitative approaches, including, for example, using a scale, consulting experts and consulting a corpus for evidence of language in use. Chapter 2 looks into specialised word lists, which is a fast-moving and fairly large area of research. There seem to be more word lists for ESP than ever before. This chapter looks first of all into developing and validating word lists and then moves into showing how word lists have been used to find out more about the nature of specialised texts, particularly in EAP and for finding out about how many words learners need to deal with the vocabulary of these texts (Nation, 2006). Chapter 4 focuses on multi-word units and metaphor, particularly in EAP, because this is where much of the research is to be found. The multi-word unit section of the chapter draws on research into general and specific collocations for EAP, lexical bundles and academic formulas, and on disciplinary perspectives (for example, work by Hyland, 2008; Biber, 2006; Simpson-Vlach & Ellis, 2010; Liu, 2012, to name a few).

Part Two is about vocabulary in a range of contexts, beginning with secondary and Middle School lexis (Greene & Coxhead, 2015) in Chapter 4. Four main subject areas form the main part of this chapter: English Literature, Mathematics, Science and Social Sciences, with examples from written and spoken corpora. Chapter 6 focuses on pre-university, university and postgraduate vocabulary research, which are areas of major activity in EAP. Case studies from a range of subject areas are included, such as Sciences, Agriculture, Engineering, Medicine and Computer Science. Chapter 7 is based on vocabulary in English for Professional and Occupational Purposes, drawing on research into a variety of areas such as Aviation, Legal English and Business and Finance, and occupational vocabulary in Medical Communication and Nursing. The final chapter in this group is on vocabulary in the trades, based on a major research project between Victoria University of Wellington and the Wellington Institute of Technology. The project investigates discourse and lexical elements of four trades: Carpentry, Plumbing, Automotive Engineering and Fabrication. The vocabulary part of the research into each of these trades is discussed in turn and used to illustrate key aspects of vocabulary for specific purposes.

The last part of the book contains two chapters. Chapter 9 is about vocabulary in ESP in relation to teaching, learning and testing. The chapter begins with two overarching frameworks in vocabulary studies: Nation’s (2007) Four Strands and Laufer and Hulstijn’s (2001) Involvement Load Hypothesis, and their relationship to specialised vocabulary in learning and teaching. The chapter also includes a section on using word list research in course design and materials. The final part of the chapter looks at testing in ESP vocabulary research.

Chapters 2 to 9 end with a section on limitations of research in these areas. These limitations are picked up in Chapter 10, where five main areas of needed research are discussed: more qualitative research, testing English vocabulary for specialised purposes, theorising in vocabulary studies (Schmitt, 2010), evaluations of specialised vocabulary research when it is incorporated into courses of study and materials design and the need for replication and, finally, widening the areas of research to include more analysis of spoken language, different contexts of research and multi-word units.