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Academic Writing in the Business School: The Genre of the Business Case Report

Nathan, P.B.


P.B. Nathan


The writing of business case reports is a common requirement for students on academic business programmes and presents significant challenges for both native and non-native speaker students. In order to support the development of pedagogical practice in the teaching of case report writing, this paper reports a genre-based study of a corpus of 53 marketing and marketing management case reports (BCR-1) written by NS and NNS postgraduate students at a UK university. Results from this localised study of academic business case reports are supplemented by comparison with sixteen business case reports from the British Academic Written English Corpus (BAWE), originating from marketing, project management and management accounting courses. The study identifies several features common to these case reports including the presence of explicit structure, impersonal style and business specialism-dependent lexis. Through the prism of Swalesian genre analysis, three obligatory broad rhetorical moves are identified (orientation, analysis and advisory moves), and five optional moves (methodology, options and alternatives, summary and consolidation, supplementary supporting information and reflection). These broad rhetorical moves are realised through diverse structural sub-components. The deployment of optional moves was found to be dependent on a range of factors, in particular business specialism, suggesting the value of specialism based pedagogy.


Nathan, P. (2013). Academic Writing in the Business School: The Genre of the Business Case Report. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 12(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2013-03
Deposit Date Feb 8, 2013
Journal Journal of English for Academic Purposes
Print ISSN 1475-1585
Publisher Elsevier
Volume 12
Issue 1