Exemplar-based genre instruction

The case of medical professional writing


  • Afnan Farooqui Umm Al Qura University
  • Suhad Sonbul Umm Al Qura University
  • Sahar Al Zahrani Umm Al Qura University
  • Zainab Gaffas Umm Al Qura University




Exemplar-Based Genre Instruction, Patient Report, Medical Learners, Genre Awareness, Lexico-Grammatical Features


Medical students who are learning English as a foreign language (EFL) need to master the ability to write professional reports. Several studies have focused on professional writing in the context of English as a second language (ESL) with advanced learners, but lower-intermediate EFL learners have yet to be examined. This study aimed to implement an exemplar-based genre instruction programme to examine its effectiveness in terms of improving Saudi EFL learners’ ability to write patient reports. The study consisted of two phases: analysis of the moves/steps of patient reports and exemplar-based genre instruction. First, the moves/steps in 30 authentic patient reports were analysed to build the framework which was then compared to another framework based on the work of Bench et al. (2014). Second, an exemplar-based genre instruction programme was implemented over six weeks with 36 EFL Saudi medical learners, and the outcomes were evaluated. The findings revealed that increased genre awareness improved the quality of learners’ writing, particularly their grammar and vocabulary. Teachers of English for specific purposes (ESP) may need to focus on increasing learners’ awareness of the medical-report genre’s lexico-grammatical features in addition to its moves.


Bazerman, C. (1988). Shaping written knowledge: The genre and activity of the experimental article in science. University of Wisconsin Press.

Bawarshi, A. S., & Reiff, M. J. (2010). Genre – An introduction to history, theory, research, and pedagogy. Parlor Press and The WAC Clearinghouse.

Bench, S. D., Heelas, K., White, C., & Griffiths, P. (2014). Providing critical care patients with a personalised discharge summary: A questionnaire survey and retrospective analysis exploring feasibility and effectiveness. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, 30(2), 69–76. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iccn.2013.08.007

Bhatia, V. K. (1993). Analyzing genre: Language use in professional settings. Longman.

Bunton, D. (2005). The structure of PhD conclusion chapters. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 4, 207–224.

Carlino, Paula. (2012). Who takes care of writing in Latin American and Spanish universities? In Writing programs worldwide: Profiles of academic writing in many places. Parlor Press and WAC Clearinghouse.

Cheng, A. (2006). Understanding learners and learning in ESP genre-based writing instruction. English for Specific Purposes, 25(1), 76–89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esp.2005.07.002

Cheng, A. (2007). Transferring generic features and recontextualizing genre awareness: Understanding writing performance in the ESP genre-based literacy framework. English for Specific Purposes, 26(3), 287–307. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esp.2006.12.002

Cheng, A. (2008). Analyzing genre exemplars in preparation for writing: The case of an L2 graduate student in the ESP genre-based instructional framework of academic literacy. Applied Linguistics, 29(1), 50–71. https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amm021

Cheng, A. (2016). Genre and graduate-level research writing. University of Michigan Press.

Downs, D., & Wardle, E. (2007). Teaching about writing, righting misconceptions: (Re) envisioning ‘first-year composition’ as introduction to writing studies. College Composition and Communication, 58(4), 552–584. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20456966

Feng, H., & Shi, L. (2004). Genre analysis of research grant proposals. LSP & Professional Communication, 4, 8–32. https://doi.org/10.14288/1.0078162

Flowerdew, J. (2016). English for specific academic purposes (ESAP) writing: Making the case. Writing & Pedagogy, 8, 5–32. https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.v8i1.30051

Gardner, S. (2012). A pedagogic and professional case study genre and register continuum in business and in medicine. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 9, 3–35. https://doi.org/10.1558/japl.v9i1.13

Halliday, M. A. K., Hasan, R. (1989). Language, context, and text: Aspects of language in a social semiotic perspective. Oxford University Press.

Harushimana, I. (2014). A qualitative study of proficiency dilemmas of Korean registered nurses (RN) in a BSN program in the US: For whom is academic writing? The Asian ESP Journal, 10(2), 64–87.

Helán, R. (2011). Helping medical students write: Genre analysis of medical case reports. In E. Kašcáková and M. Zvirinský (Eds.), FORLANG Cudzie jazyky v akademickom prostredi. Košice: Technická univerzita v Košiciach, 75–85.

Hwang, Y., & Lin, S. (2010). A study of medical students’ linguistic needs in Taiwan. The Asian ESP Journal, 6(1), 35–58.

Hyland, K. (2002). Specificity revisited: How far should we go now? English for Specific Purposes, 21, 385–395. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0889-4906(01)00028-X

Hyland, K. (2003). Genre-based pedagogies: A social response to process. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12, 17–29. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1060-3743(02)00124-8

Hyland, K. (2004). Genre and second language writing. University of Michigan Press.

Hyland, K. (2007). Genre pedagogy: Language, literacy and L2 writing instruction. Journal of Second Language Writing, 16, 148–164. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2007.07.005

Hyon, S. (1996). Genre in three traditions: Implications for ESL. TESOL Quarterly, 30(4), 693–722. https://doi.org/10.2307/3587930

Johns, A. M. (2003). Genre and ESL/EFL composition instruction. In B. Kroll (Ed.), Exploring the dynamics of second language writing (pp. 195–217). Cambridge University Press.

Kwan, B. S. C. (2006). The schematic structure of literature reviews in doctoral theses of applied linguistics. English for Specific Purposes, 25, 30–55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esp.2005.06.001

Lysanets, Y., Morokhovets, H., & Bieliaieva, O. (2017). Stylistic features of case reports as a genre of medical discourse. J Med Case Reports, 11(83), 1–5. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13256-017-1247-x

Maclean, J. (1975). English for basic medical science. Oxford University Press.

Martín-Martín, P. (2013). The teaching of academic writing to English as a second language students: A functional genre-based approach. Revista de Lenguas para Fines Específicos, 19, 329–351. https://ojsspdc.ulpgc.es/ojs/index.php/LFE/article/view/23

Mijomanovic, S., Aleksic-Hajdukovic, I., & Sinadinovic, D. (2021). Case reports in dental medicine: A genre analysis. ESP Today, 9(1), 129–149. https://doi.org/10.18485/esptoday.2021.9.1.7

Paltridge, B. (2001). Genre and the language learning classroom. University of Michigan Press.

Paltridge, B. (2002). Thesis and dissertation writing: An examination of published advice and actual practice. English for Specific Purposes, 21, 125–143. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0889-4906(00)00025-9

Pérez, I. K. L., & Martín-Martín, P. (2016). On the importance of a genre-based approach in the teaching of English for medical purposes. Language Learning in Higher Education, 6(1), 95–117. https://doi.org/10.1515/cercles-2016-0005

R Core Team. (2018). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. https://www.R-project.org

Samraj, B. (2005). An exploration of a genre set: Research article abstracts and introductions in two disciplines. English for Specific Purposes, 24, 141–156. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esp.2002.10.001

Soler-Monreal, C. (2015). Announcing one’s work in PhD theses in computer science: A comparison of move 3 in literature reviews written in English L1, English L2 and Spanish L1. English for Specific Purposes, 40, 27–41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esp.2015.07.004

Starfield, S. (2003). The evolution of a thesis-writing course for arts and social sciences students: What can applied linguistics offer? Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics, 8(2), 137–154.

Starfield, S. (2016). Supporting doctoral writing at an Australian university. Writing & Pedagogy, 8, 177–198. https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.v8i1.27632

Swales. J. M. (1990). Genre analysis: English in academic and research settings. Cambridge University Press.

Swales, J. M. (2004). Research genres: Explorations and applications. Cambridge University Press.

Swales. J. M., & Feak, C. B. (2000). English in today’s research world: A writing guide. University of Michigan Press.

Swales. J. M., & Feak, C. B. (2009). Abstracts and the writing of abstracts. University of Michigan Press.

Swales, J. M., & Feak, C. B. (2012). Academic writing for graduate students: Essential tasks and skills (3rd ed.). University of Michigan Press.

Tardy, C. M. (2009). Building genre knowledge. Parlor Press.

Thongchalerm, S., & Jarunthawatchai, W. (2020). The impact of genre based instruction on EFL learners’ writing development. International Journal of Instruction, 13(1), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.29333/iji.2020.1311a

Yang, W. H. (2012). Analysing and teaching keywords in hotel brochure text. LSP Journal, 3(1), 32–50.

Yang, Y. (2016). A study of Sydney school’s genre- based pedagogy in Chinese college English education. Studies in Sociology of Science, 7(1), 32–38. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/236305025.pdf. https://doi.org/10.3968/8133



How to Cite

Farooqui, A., Sonbul, S., Al Zahrani, S., & Gaffas, Z. (2022). Exemplar-based genre instruction: The case of medical professional writing. Writing and Pedagogy, 14(1), 73–102. https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.20649



Research Matters