Author: Im, Siu Wo
Title: Corpus-based analysis of lexical bundles in strategic plans of top 50 universities in Asia and the West
Advisors: Cheng, Winnie (ENGL)
Lam, Phoenix (ENGL)
Ho, Victor (ENGL)
Degree: DALS
Year: 2021
Subject: Discourse analysis
Education, Higher -- Aims and objectives
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Faculty of Humanities
Pages: xvi, 350 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: "Strategic plan" is one of the significant documents for stating the professional development pathway and strategic actions for a particular desired schedule in the business world and other organisations in order to achieve the company vision and mission with short- and long-term goals by following the beliefs and core values. In the higher education field, the strategic plan serves to analyse the present conditions in the competitive world and allocate resources for continuing to grow and prosper. Based on the genre analysis of the strategic plans produced by different industries and organisations, researchers concur that the university strategic plan is not the same as that of the business sector and finds that the university strategic plan is a mixed genre. Research studies on strategic planning in organisations have so far focused on the business register to evaluate accomplishment cost and brand identity construction; few studies have analysed the textual features of strategic plan documents to reveal the marketisation discourse. However, scarce research has investigated the genre of university strategic plans to identify the informative and promotional functions of lexical bundles by using discourse analysis. A review of the global ranking of world-class universities shows that the majority of long-established universities are in the top ranking. However, in recent years, young universities in Asia have gained in the global ranking. With the filtering features of the global ranking system, Asia and the West are the two regions under geographical attribute that the top universities provide official documents in English. This corpus-based study aims to compare the genre of strategic plans of universities of these two different geographical regions. As the strategic planning documents have communicative components that help internal and external stakeholders to understand the core values of the institution. The study would like to address the hybridisation of informative and promotional functions that are massively occurred in the strategic plan. Specifically it compares the most frequent lexical bundles (Cortes, 2002) in the university strategic plans of top ranking universities in Asia and West in order to identify the promotional features and focuses of specific keywords and bundles of this genre in different regions. The research questions of the corpus-based study are: RQ1. What are the most frequently occurring prototypical target bundles in the corpora of top ranking universities in Asia and the West? RQ2. What are the structural and functional characteristics of the prototypical target bundles in the corpora? RQ3. What are the key prototypical lexical bundles in each corpus?
The study compiled two corpora of university strategic plans based on Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings in Asia and the West. It compared three- to six-word bundles, filtered to achieve an enhancement in the lexical bundle list by considering the Mutual Information (MI) statistic value and applying the exclusion criteria in the corpus analysis program. The enhanced lexical bundle list was further grouped together by using keywords, underpinned by the concept of prototypical bundle, derived from the idea of canonical units of meaning (Sinclair, Jones, & Daley, 2004). Concordances of the high-frequency bundles were examined in terms of their structural characteristics - noun phrase, verb phrase, prepositional phrase and other phrasal structures (Biber, Johansson, Leech, Conrad, & Finegan, 1999) and functional characteristics (Hyland, 2008b) with modifications - plan-oriented, text-oriented and participant-oriented. The results of the comparative study confirm the informative-giving and promotional features of lexical bundles in university strategic planning documents, the findings show that noun phrase and prepositional phrase are dominated in the structural types; description and stance features are largely occupied in the functional types in the two corpora. In addition, the salience of the lexical bundles in the two corpora with similarities and uniqueness are also identified by using both quantitative and qualitative analysis. The study contributes to an enriched understanding of how the positive manner is embedded into the strategic plan genre in order to support promotional features with specific lexical bundles. Also, additional information on promotional focuses in the strategic planning documents of higher education are differentiated from the perspectives of the universities in Asia and the West. Thus, it might provide insights into the selection of lexical bundles and highlighted components to help communicate with all the stakeholders that are inside or outside the university community.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: restricted access

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