Vol. 1 No. 1 (2023)
General Section

Exploring the Complexities of L2 English Academic Writing: Towards a Comprehensive Approach to Teaching English for Academic Purposes

Csilla Sárdi
Pázmány Péter Catholic University
Pázmány Papers vol. 1. nr. 1.

Published 12/18/2023 — Updated on 06/13/2024


  • academic text varieties,
  • academic writing strategies,
  • genre analysis,
  • L2 academic writing instruction,
  • process approach to writing,
  • product approach to writing,
  • register analysis


L2 English academic writing, now a well-established field of study, incorporates a large number of interrelated issues from the perspectives of context, participants, process and textual realisation, informing various instructional models of English for academic purposes in university contexts globally. This paper looks at a number of major theoretical traditions and relevant research findings focusing on the characteristics of academic texts, writers, readers and the writing process, and shows how each tradition has inspired the development of particular approaches to teaching L2 English academic writing. Textual features are discussed from the points of view of genre and register analysis, and contextual features are looked at in terms of individual novice L2 writer characteristics, including writing strategies, the relationship between L1 and L2 academic writing, and the cultural background of writers. Related instructional models include product-, process-, and genre-based approaches whose operationalisations are closely linked to particular theoretical traditions. The paper argues that the pedagogical considerations stemming from different theoretical backgrounds and empirical research results can complement each other in a useful way leading to a more comprehensive pedagogical approach, and that the application of a well-informed, carefully selected and carefully sequenced combination of teaching techniques and accompanying materials can contribute to the successful development of L2 English academic writing skills.