APPRAISAL as a framework for understanding multimodal electronic feedback

Positioning and purpose in screencast video and text feedback in ESL writing


  • Kelly J. Cunningham Iowa State University



screencast feedback, ESL writing, APPRAISAL, technology-mediated feedback, writing feedback


Given the multimodal nature of new modes of electronic feedback, such as screencasting, there is a need for the application of robust, theoretically grounded frameworks to capture linguistic and functional differences in feedback across modes. The present study argues that the appraisal framework, an outgrowth of systemic functional linguistics (SFL) that focuses on evaluative language and interpersonal meaning, can provide understanding of and discernment between technology-mediated modes of feedback. The study demonstrates this potential through an appraisal analysis of a small corpus of 16 screencast video and 16 text (MS Word comment) feedback files given to eight students over four assignments in an intermediate ESL writing class. The results suggest possible variation between the video and text feedback in reviewer positioning and feedback purpose. Specifically, video seems to position the reviewer as one of many possible perspectives with feedback focused on possibility and suggestion, while the text feedback seems to position the reviewer as authority with feedback focused on correctness. The findings suggest that appraisal can aid in the understanding of multimodal feedback and identifying differences between feedback modes.

Author Biography

Kelly J. Cunningham, Iowa State University

Kelly J. Cunningham completed her PhD in the Applied Linguistics & Technology and Human Computer Interaction at Iowa State University. She holds an MA in intercultural studies and TESOL and has taught ESL in a variety of academic and community-based programs since 2007. Her research spans corpus linguistics, discourse analysis and CALL. Currently, she is the director of the Graduate Writing Lab in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia.


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How to Cite

Cunningham, K. J. (2018). APPRAISAL as a framework for understanding multimodal electronic feedback: Positioning and purpose in screencast video and text feedback in ESL writing. Writing & Pedagogy, 9(3), 457-485.



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