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Home > Research > Researchers > Karin Tusting
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Current Postgraduate Research Students

Karin Tusting supervises 8 postgraduate research students. Some of the students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Dr Karin Tusting


Karin Tusting

County South

Lancaster University


Lancaster LA1 4YL

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 1524 510825

Location: C22 FASS building

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, 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

In 2012/13 I am convening Ling401 'Research Methods in Linguistics and English Language' and Ling437 'Learning and Teaching in Digitally Mediated Spaces'.  I am also convening the Faculty Research Training Programme course FASS 517 'Discourse Analysis'.  In addition, I contribute teaching on Ling209 'Literacy and Education'. FASS 510 'Qualitative Methods' (face-to-face and distance versions), and the LAEL first year undergraduate Study Skills programme.

Research Interests

I am interested in the way 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 have recently completed an ESRC-funded project entitled 'Paperwork and pressure in educational settings: the textual mediation of target culture'. This involved using ethnographic methods to explore the impact of centralised paperwork demands on people's working lives in two contrasting educational settings: an early years site and an adult education college.

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, conducted in the Linguistics and English Language department, examined the role of written text in constructing and maintaining community identity in a Catholic parish.

I have published on 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 am active nationally in the Research and Practice in Adult Literacy network and am a founder member of the UK Linguistic Ethnography Forum.  I am a member of the ESRC's Peer Review College.

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