Textbook – University of Copenhagen

Textbook: Research? Pedagogy? Neither or both?

I like to …provide …many examples from my …research …[and] encourage students to go elsewhere, so …highlight research …with colleagues …just to give them an idea …[that] we are at the cusp of what is going on in terms of new knowledge and so I …present this saying, ‘Here is what your textbook says, but actually …this is what people are thinking or this is an exciting new thing …to think.’ (Brookeye)

While I was there [fieldwork], I had one main deliverable, which was a chapter revision for a textbook that I had agreed to do, and felt really strongly that I wanted to do that, not give up that opportunity, so I somehow managed to do that, and I don’t even know how I did that really. (KS)

More exactly, I wanted to know [from my supervisor] whether I should just quote the theoretical results from the stats literature without fully understanding their basis, or whether to thoroughly read a textbook on the subject so that I get a better understanding. She thought reading the textbook would be worth it, and I tend to agree. ] (George)

These early career researchers provide us different perspectives on the role of textbooks: teacher, author, and student. Their thoughts are useful reminders of what is often referred to as a blurred genre – neither fish nor fowl. Even if we choose and use textbooks, what do we know of the varied purposes and audiences? And how well does their structure achieve these goals … as well as ours as teachers or students? These articles provide some empirical evidence to help us use (and perhaps write) textbooks.

Your task

Before September 15 2018, please

  1. Choose three articles and read them through.
  2. For each article, write a brief response using this structure:
Your name: Your responses
Author and article number
The most interesting thing I learned
Questions it raised in my mind
At least two ideas it generated about my own research and practice

3. After registration you will be invited to join a platform for the pre-conference workshop preparation.

Before the meeting

  1. Read through others’ responses.
  2. Compare with your own.


1. Altman, W., Ericksen, K., & Pena-Shaff, J. (2006). An inclusive process for departmental textbook selection. Teaching of Psychology, 33(4), 228-231.

2. Klerides, E. (2010). Imagining the textbook: Textbooks as discourse and genre. Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society, 2(1), 31-54.

3. Luzón, M. J. (1999). An interactive genre within the University Textbook: The preface. Journal of technical writing and communication, 29(4), 409-429.

4. Parodi, G. (2010). The rhetorical organization of the Textbook genre across disciplines: A ‘colony-in-loops’? Discourse Studies, 12(2), 195-222.

5. Swales, J. (1995). The role of the textbook in EAP writing research. English for Specific Purposes, 14(1), 3-18.