Higher-degree research being undertaken by Jen Cope




Dr Marie Stevenson

Thesis title:

A critical analysis of newspaper opinion texts from the US, the UK and Australia on the Global Financial Crisis



Project description

Much media attention has focused on the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) since 2008, yet little has been paid to the language and expression of blame and responsibility. An investigation of this expression in commentaries could lead to an understanding of how influential writers have positioned themselves, and their audiences. Additionally, cultural context can impact upon language use and positioning.

This research project, based on a social constructionist epistemology, and carried out from a critical discourse analytic perspective aims to: 1) explore how blame and responsibility have been attributed in written opinion pieces from newspapers in the US, the UK and Australia; 2) investigate how this expression is used to position writers and their audiences; 3) explore how the different socio-cultural contexts can affect the meaning of the language in the texts, even if the main language is the same language of English in each country; and 4) create a theoretical framework from a critical discourse perspective which integrates elements of crisis communication theory and appraisal analysis.

Motivation for studying the impact of context upon language use, stems from the belief that for English language learners to be truly empowered, they need to understand the words that they read and be aware of the impact that context has on the meaning of a text.

Jen Cope has been an academic tutor on the M.Ed TESOL program in the Faculty of Education & Social Work at the University of Sydney. She also participated as an online tutor to undergraduate students in Hong Kong in the USyd Department of Linguistics' English literacy project. Jen additionally has over 15 years' experience as an ESL teacher at TAFE NSW (a major Australian vocational college), where she has taught international and migrant English students, and worked in a supervisory role. Jen's previous career was as a Publisher in the financial, legal and business fields.


  • The University of Sydney Postgraduate Award (UPA) 2009-2013

Professional and community roles

  • TESOL Research Network Postgraduate Student
  • Member of the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (affiliated with the Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquee)
  • Member of the International Systemic Functional Linguistics Association (ISFLA)
  • Member of the online Appraisal Analysis group
  • Member of the Mass Communication Discourse Analysis Group (McDAG)
  • Research Associate of NewsTalk&Text

Book chapters

  • Cope, J. (2015). From critical analysis to critical literacy in ESP: Developing skills for greater understanding of UK, US and Australian English texts. In P.N. Shrestha (Ed.), Current Developments in English for Academic and Specific Purposes: Local innovations and global perspectives. Reading, UK: Garnet Education.

Journal articles

  • Cope, J. (2015). Empowering English language learners: The importance of developing critical literacy skills. The IAFOR Academic Review,1(7), 23–26.

Conference presentations