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Applied Linguistics reading list: Writing

Key texts

Grabe, W. and Kaplan, R.B. 1996. Theory and Practice of Writing. London: Longman.

This is a substantial book which offers excellent coverage. However, unless you have a particular interest in writing, you might that it’s the sort of book you want to dip into rather than have on your shelves.

Hyland, K. 2002. Teaching and Researching Writing. London: Longman.

If you only buy one book on writing, this is the one I’d recommend. It’s comprehensive but very accessible thanks to clear writing and excellent organisation. Although you might want to explore some topics in more depth than is available here, it will at least provide an excellent introduction to your area of interest — and it’s bang up to date.

Johns, A.M. 1990. L1 composition theories: implications for developing theories of L2 composition. In B. Kroll (ed.), pp.24-36.

Although this is slightly dated, the general position still holds and in a short space it covers a lot of territory. Still worth reading.

Kroll, B. (ed.). 2002. Exploring the Dynamics of Second Language Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

A wide-ranging collection, with useful historical overviews, helpful discussions of sub-fields (e.g. composition and TESOL writing, contrastive rhetoric, genre) and some interesting arguments.

Silva, T. 1993. Toward an understanding of the distinct nature of L2 writing: the ESL research and its implications. TESOL Quarterly, 27(4): 657-75.

A much more accessible review than the 2004 paper with Brice. A bit dated but most of it is still useful and the organisation and summaries are very helpful.

Silva, T. and Brice, C. 2004. Research in teaching writing. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 24: 70-106.

This is a key text only because it provides such a comprehensive and up-to-date bibliography. So it’s only likely to be relevant if you choose an assignment and/or dissertation in this area.

Of mainly historical interest

Kroll, B. (ed.). 1990. Second Language Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Raimes. A. 1991. Out of the woods: Emerging traditions in the teaching of writing. TESOL Quarterly, 25(3): 407-30.

Silva, T. 1993. Toward an understanding of the distinct nature of L2 writing: the ESL research and its implications. TESOL Quarterly, 27(4): 657-75.

Zamel, V. 1982. Writing: The process of discovering meaning. TESOL Quarterly, 16 (2): 195-209.

Zamel, V. 1983. The composing processes of advanced ESL students: Six case studies. TESOL Quarterly, 17 (2): 165-87.

Zamel, V. 1985. Responding to student writing. TESOL Quarterly, 19(1): 79-101.

Some other aspects


Bitchener, J. and Knoch, U. 2009. The value of a focused approach to written corrective feedback. ELT Journal, 63(3): 204-211.

Furneaux, C., Paran, A. and Farifax, B. 2007. Teacher stance as reflected in feedback on student writing: An empirical study of secondary school teachers in five countries. IRAL, 45: 69-94.

Gilmore, A. 2009. Using online corpora to develop students’ writing skills. ELT Journal, 63(4): 363-372.

Hamp-Lyons, L. 2006. Feedback in portfolio-based writing courses. In K. Hyland & F. Hyland (eds), Feedback in Second Language Writing: Contexts and Issues. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pages 140-161.

Hyland, F. 2000. ESL writers and feedback: Giving more autonomy to students. Language Teaching Research, 4(1): 33-54.

Lee, I. 2008. Ten mismatches between teachers’ beliefs and written feedback practice. ELT Journal, 63(1): 13-22.

McGarrell, H. and Verbeem, J. 2007. Motivating revision of drafts through formative feedback. ELT Journal, 61(3): 228-36.


Problems in writing and processes of composition

Thompson, G. 2001. Interaction in academic writing: Learning to argue with the reader. Applied Linguistics, 22(1): 58-78.

Asaoka, C. & Y. Usui. 2003. Students’ perceived problems in an EAP writing course. JALT Journal, 25(2): 143-172.

Li, Y. 2007. Apprentice scholarly writing in a community of practice: An intraview of an NNES graduate student writing a research article. TESOL Quarterly, 41(1): 55-79.



Belcher, D. 2001. Cyberdiscourse, evolving notions of authorship, and the teaching of writing. In M. Hewings (ed.), Academic Writing in Context. pp.140-9. Birmingham: University of Birmingham Press.

Bilton, L. and Sivasubramaniam, S. 2009. An inquiry into expressive writing: a classroom-based study. Language Teaching Research, 13(3): 301-320.

Firkins, A. Forey, G. and Sengupta, S. 2007. Teaching writing to low proficiency EFL students. ELT Journal, 61(4): 341-52.

Gilmore, A. 2009. Using online corpora to develop students’ writing skills. ELT Journal, 63(4): 363-372.

Hyland, K. and Tse, P. 2004. Metadiscourse in academic writing: A reappraisal. Applied Linguistics, 25(2): 156-77.


Cited in the lectures

Bazerman, C. 1983. Scientific writing as a social act. In P. Anderson, J. Brockman and C. Miller (eds), New Essays in Technical Writing and Communication, pp. 156-84. Farningdale, NY: Baywood.

Guleff, V. 2002. Approaching genre: pre-writing as apprenticeship to communities of practice. In A.M. Johns (ed.), Genre in the Classroom: Multiple Perspectives, pp.211-23. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Hoey, M. 1983. On the Surface of Discourse. London: George Allen and Unwin.

Kaplan, R.B. 1966. Cultural thought patterns in inter-cultural education. Language Learning, 16(1&2): 1-20.

Richards, K. 1995. Direction and debate in distance materials for teacher development. In R. Howard and I. McGrath (eds), Distance Education for Language Teachers, pp.142-60. Cleveland: Multilingual Matters.

Robb, T., Ross, S. and Shortreed, I. 1986. Salience of feedback on error quality and its effect on EFL writing, TESOL Quarterly, 20 (1): 83-93.

Stiff, R. 1967. The effect upon student composition of particular correction techniques. Research in the Teaching of English, 1(1): 54-75.

Swales J.M. 1990. Genre Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.