Getting it Together: A Genre Analysis of the Rhetorical Structure of Open University Television Programmes in Science and Technology

Rowena Jansson

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This thesis is concerned with uncovering the organisational structure underpinning Open University television programmes in scientific and technological fields. Using a genre analysis which takes into account the unique contextual configuration in which vision and pedagogical purpose play a vital part a rhetorical structure is revealed. This structure is based essentially on a string of Episodes. The notion of Episodes is discussed and interpreted as a complete or truncated discourse pattern. Two discourse patterns appear to operate in a potentially complex manner. In general terms, a Situation-Problem-Solution-Evaluation pattern forms the Episodes at an overall structural level while a Demonstration-Explanation-Summary pattern operates at a lower or embedded level. A basic four-level structure emerges in which the entire discourse or Programme is formed of Episodes which are composed of Sections – the components of a discourse pattern – which in their turn are made up of Clause relations. Embedded Episodes operate at the Section level. The study explores the forms, functions and incidence of Transitions, interactive and metadiscoursal units, which link otherwise unconnected units of discourse. The identification of Episodes and Sections is dependent on visual, prosodic, textual and lexical features which is demonstrated in the study. All these features interweave in getting together a specific genre – OU television programmes in science and technology – revealed by a distinctive rhetorical structure.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • English Studies
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2000 Oct 14
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2000-10-14
Time: 14:15
Place: Rum 239, Engelska institutionen

External reviewer(s)

Name: Hoey, Michael
Title: Professor
Affiliation: [unknown]


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Languages and Literature


  • English language and literature
  • distance learning.
  • television teaching
  • metadiscourse
  • transition
  • episode
  • rhetorical structure
  • Genre analysis
  • discourse analysis
  • Engelska (språk och litteratur)


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