A tale of two genres: Engaging audiences in academic blogs and three-minute thesis presentations

Hang Zou, Ken Hyland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


This paper reports a cross-genre study of how academics engage their audiences in two popular but underexplored academic genres: academic blogs and Three Minute Thesis (3MT) presentations. Based on a corpus of 65 academic blog posts and 65 3MT presentations from social sciences, we examine how academics establish interpersonal rapport with non-specialist audiences with the aid of engagement resources. The analysis identified new ways of informing and persuading a more diverse audience of their research in both genres. Further analyses revealed more engagement features overall deployed in 3MT presentations, especially those seeking to bring audiences into the discussion by mentioning them explicitly, directing them to think in certain ways, and addressing them with questions. Academic bloggers, in contrast, emphasized shared knowledge and offered more parenthetical commentary. The variations are explained in terms of mode and context, especially the time-constrained and face-to-face competitive context of the spoken genre. The findings have important implications for academics to address their audiences in taking their research beyond specialist insiders, and they shed light on how engagement works in very different academic contexts with different modes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-151
Number of pages21
JournalAustralian Journal of Linguistics
Issue number2
Early online date5 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • 3MT presentations
  • Academic blogs
  • engagement
  • interaction
  • mode

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