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Academic and professional literacies

 Academic and professional literacies with The Open University

Academic and professional literacies is a key topic in the Language and Literacies Research Cluster within the Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET). Researchers and students work in a variety of areas relating to literacies in education (secondary and HE) and professional contexts.

Past and present studies have focused on writing in different disciplines (e.g. history, geography, history of science, health and social care, business and management); digital literacies in teacher development; writing by UK and international students; literacy practices in digital environments; developing teacher literacies through participation in ereading groups; the writing for publication of scholars working in non-Anglophone contexts; and writing in professional social work practice.

Methodologies include ethnography, corpus analysis, systemic functional linguistic analysis and discourse approaches, including critical discourse analysis and poststructuralist approaches.

Qualifications available:

PhD, Professional Doctorates


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) plus either a masters degree or research methods training a masters level (or equivalent)

Potential research projects

  • Academic literacies
  • The sociolinguistics of writing
  • Writing in social work education and professional practice
  • Writing for publication
  • Digital literacies in post-compulsory learning contexts
  • Writing in English as a lingua franca contexts
  • Writing in social and healthcare professional contexts
  • Writing in business and management education

Current/recent research projects

  • Students’ writing and transitions from school to university
  • A corpus-driven study of Chinese students’ undergraduate writing in UK universities
  • Explorations of student academic literacy practices in digital multimodal disciplinary contexts in South African vocational higher education
  • Women’s academic writing and widening participation in higher education in the UK
  • An exploration of subject tutor practice surrounding student writing in UK higher education
  • A study of how Canadian immigrants negotiate communication and establish relations in an employment preparation programme
  • Multimodal literacy and education in the context of new technologies
  • Scholarly writing for publication

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Mrs Wendy Whiteley
+44 (0)1908 858188

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.