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Karin Tusting supervises 10 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Professor Karin Tusting

Professor in Linguistics and English Language

Karin Tusting

County South



Tel: +44 1524 510825

Research overview

Engagement with material texts, including digital texts, is one of the central ways in which the social world is co-ordinated, shaping people's identities and experiences as well as the social relations within which they are situated.  I am interested in developing better understandings of these processes through detailed local studies of people's engagements with texts in specific settings, situating myself within literacy studies and linguistic ethnography.  Most recently, these interests have led me to study workplace paperwork and vernacular learning online.  Previously I have analysed the role of literacy practices in identity construction in a parish community, and worked in adult literacy research as part of a team exploring relationships between lives and learning.

PhD supervision

I am interested in supervising doctoral students working in literacy studies, including workplace literacies, academic literacies, audit cultures and accountability, digital literacy practices, literacy practices in religious communities, and adult literacy; linguistic ethnography; communities of practice and situated learning; institutional ethnography; and discourse analysis.

Current Teaching

I convene and teach on LING307 (Language and Identities) and the LING301a and LING301b research methods modules. I also contribute to teaching on LING204 (Discourse Analysis) and LING103 (Linguistics).

Research Interests

I am interested in how contemporary social practices are almost always mediated in some way through interaction with written texts of many kinds, including electronic texts. My work studies various aspects of this textual mediation process, drawing on linguistic ethnographic methodologies to study literacy practices.

At the moment I have a particular interest in workplace practices, paperwork demands, and the impact of these on people's lives and identities. I was Principal Investigator on the ESRC-funded research project "The Dynamics of Knowledge Creation: Academics' Writing Practices in the Contemporary University Workplace" (book of the project published as Academics Writing, Tusting, McCulloch, Bhatt, Hamilton and Barton, Routledge 2019). My previous ESRC-funded research explored the impact of centralised paperwork demands in two educational workplaces: an adult education college and a nursery.  

Previously, I was a member of research teams working on the Adult Learners' Lives project, an ethnographic study of the relationship between learning and other aspects of people's lives; the Kendal project, a study using multiple qualitative methods to explore trends and shifts in religious and spiritual belief and practice in the town of Kendal in the Lake District; and the Interculture Project, a study of undergraduates' intercultural experiences during their period of residence abroad. My doctoral research examined the role of written text in constructing and maintaining community identity in a Catholic parish.

I have published on accountability paperwork, extending the concept of communities of practice, models of adult learning, creativity in everyday literacy practices, community-based local literacies research, time and the new literacy studies, the legitimation of cultural generalisations through appeal to personal experience, and French text analysis. 

I have a longstanding interest in the field of linguistic ethnography and was convenor of the Linguistic Ethnography Forum for 6 years. I have recently edited the Routledge Handbook of Linguistic Ethnography (Routledge 2019). 

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