Uptake of corpus tools in the Spanish Higher Education context: a mixed-methods study

  • Pascual Pérez-Paredes University of Cambridge
  • Purificación Sánchez Hernández Universidad de Murcia


This paper examines the introduction and use of corpus consultation in the course of a training initiative sponsored by the Professional Training Unit of a medium-sized University in Spain. ‘Introducing Research Articles (RA) Writing’ was a 12-hour module that offered researchers the opportunity to gain insight into the nature of the research articles (RA) across different disciplines. The researchers (n=25) and the instructors met three times in two-hour sessions during a two-month period. All participants completed two post-task questionnaires and a delayed questionnaire. An interview was completed two years after the end of the course. After task 2, 64 percent of the participants found corpus tools to be of great help when writing their research articles. No significant differences between B1 and B2–C1 groups were found in their assessment of the writing tools provided. Increased familiarity with the corpus tools did not result in a better appraisal of these resources and all participants seemed to favour the use of the curated list of vocabulary provided. The delayed questionnaire and subsequent delayed interviews (n=5) revelaled that the use of corpora had had limited or no impact on the writing practices of these researchers. We argue that the use of corpora in professional writing contexts requires careful planning as well as continued institutional support.