Chapter 5. Writing as social practice in engineering
This chapter reports on a collaborative study that used a range of qualitative data (interviews, observations, talk around text, and written reports) as its empirical base to examine academic and professional writing in four schools of the faculty of engineering at a British university. Findings demonstrate that writing in these schools is closely related to its context of production. As such, writing not only reflects the views on knowledge and ideologies of engineering as a discipline but also helps to reaffirm them. The findings contribute to understandings of the nature and dynamics of writing as social practice that emerged from the research efforts of a cross-disciplinary team of researchers in applied linguistics and engineering. They show that both applied linguists and engineers can inform pedagogical approaches to disciplinary writing practices so that they can become more context- and discipline-specific. The chapter concludes by suggesting avenues for further cross-disciplinary research in writing.