Hilary Nesi’s research primarily concerns the discourse of English for academic purposes, and the design and use of dictionaries and reference tools. She was principal investigator for the AHRB-funded project to create the BASE corpus of British Academic Spoken English (2001-2005), and for the ESRC-funded project to create the BAWE corpus of British Academic Written English (2004-2007).
She is currently leading the development of the international Engineering Lecture Corpus (ELC). Hilary has also collected and analysed the business correspondence component of the JISC-funded BT e-Archive, and is principal investigator for the AHRC Research Networking project ‘Digitising experiences of migration: the development of interconnected letter collections’.
Hilary has developed materials for the study of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) as Chief Academic Advisor for the EASE EAP speaking and listening series and as principal investigator for the project to produce academic writing materials for the British Council ‘Learn English’ website. Her research monographs and articles include The Use and Abuse of EFL Dictionaries and Genres across the Disciplines: Student writing in higher education, co-authored with Sheena Gardner.
Although communication is at the heart of academic endeavour, there are still huge gaps in our knowledge of how this communication is achieved in different academic contexts. Through my research I want to contribute to our knowledge of the nature of academic discourse, and how it varies across genres, disciplines, levels of study and geographical regions. I also want to find good ways of presenting and explaining this information to scholars and fellow-teachers, so that it can be applied most effectively, at a time when the use of English as an academic lingua franca is rapidly on the rise.