Averil Coxhead

AProf Averil Coxhead profile picture

T3 Director School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Research interests

Vocabulary research, English for academic purposes, English for specific purposes, multi-word units, trades vocabulary, university vocabulary

RSA Cert. TEFL (Bournemouth), BA, DipTESL, MA, PhD (Wellington)

Current research

Averil is an Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics. She teaches courses on second language learning in undergraduate TESOL and the MA in Applied Linguistics/TESOL programmes. Averil has taught in New Zealand, England, Estonia, Hungary and Romania. Her current research includes specialised vocabulary in the trades, at university and secondary school.

Word list research

One element of Averil's research involves developing and evaluating word lists.

The Academic Word List (AWL)

Averil is the author of The Academic Word List (2000) which may be purchased from Vic Books.

Two versions of an AWL test from Professor Paul Nation: Test A and Test B, with answers.
From Professor John Read: A word association test,with answers, and a context test , with answers.

The Academic Spoken Word List

The Academic Spoken Word List (Dang, Coxhead & Webb, 2017) was developed by Yen Dang as part of her PhD research.

The EAP Science List

The EAP Science list (Coxhead & Hirsh, 2007)  was developed from a written corpus of 15 Science subjects, following principles from Coxhead's Academic Word List.

Middle School Lists

Middle School Lists (Greene & Coxhead, 2015)

Technical word lists in the trades

Word lists in Carpentry, Plumbing, Automotive Engineering and Fabrication were developed as part of the Language in Trades Education Project.

A website for these lists is under development.


  • Coxhead, A., Parkinson, J., Mackay, J. & McLaughlin, E. (2020). English for vocational purposes: Language use in trades education. London: Routledge.
  • Coxhead, A. (2018). Vocabulary and English for Specific Purposes Research: Quantitative and qualitative perspectives. London: Routledge.
  • Coxhead, A. (2018). Using Ted talks in the classroom. Singapore: RELC SEAMEO.
  • Coxhead, A. & Nation, P. (2018). Reading for the academic world, 1, 2, 3. Sache, Texas: Seed Learning
  • Greene, J.  Coxhead, A. (Feb, 2015). Academic Vocabulary for Middle School Students: Research-Based Lists and Strategies for Key Content Areas. Baltimore: Brookes Publishing.
  • Coxhead, A. (Ed.) (2014). New ways in teaching vocabulary, revised.Alexandria, Virginia: TESOL Inc
  • New Ways
  • Coxhead, A. (2011). Using vocabulary in writing in a second language: Writing from sources. Koln : LAP Lambert Academic Publishing.
  • Coxhead, A. (2006). Essentials of teaching academic vocabulary . Boston: Houghton Mifflin. (Since 2007 this book is published through Heinle Cengage).

Guest editor of special issue of refereed journals

  • Coxhead, A. (2015).(Ed.) Language Teaching Research: Special Issue in Vocabulary and Pedagogy. 19(6) 641–644.
  • Coxhead, A.  Hirsh, D. (2011). (Eds.)TESOL and Applied Language Studies Research by Postgraduate Students in Australia and New Zealand. University of Sydney Papers in TESOL, 6.
  • Coxhead, A. (2010).(Ed.) Special issue of in honour of Paul Nation.Reading in a foreign language. 22(1): 1-241.

Chapters in books

  • Coxhead, A. & Dang, T.N.Y. (2019). Vocabulary in university tutorials and laboratories: Corpora and word lists. In K. Hyland & K. Wong (Eds.). Specialised English: New directions in ESP and EAP research (pp. 120-134). London: Routledge.
  • Coxhead, A. (2019). Working with multi-word units in ESP/EAP. In E. Hinkel (Ed.). Teaching essential units of language: Beyond single-word vocabulary, pp. 36-54. New York: Routledge.
  • Coxhead, A. & Ballance, O. J. (2018). Learning through a corpus. The Cambridge guide to learning in a second language (pp. 307-315). Cambridge, UK; Cambridge University Press.
  • Quero, B. & Coxhead, A. (2018). Using a corpus-based approach to select medical vocabulary for an ESP course: The case for high-frequency vocabulary. In Yasemin Kirkgöz & Kenan Dikilitaş (Eds.). Key issues in English for Specific Purposes in higher education, pp. 51-75. New York: Springer.
  • Mukai, S. & Coxhead, A. (2018). Factors affecting participation in postgraduate educational interaction in English: Implications for EAP. In L. Wong and W. Wong (Eds.) Teaching and learning English for Academic Purposes: Current research and practices (pp. 51-68). New York: Nova Sciences.
  • Coxhead, A. (2017). The lexical demands of teacher talk: An international school study of EAL, Maths and Science. In R. Vatvedt Fjeld, K. Hagen, B. Henriksen, S. Johannson, S. Olsen & J. Prentice (Eds.) Academic language in a Nordic setting – linguistic and educational perspectives: Oslo Studies in Language 9(1), 2017. (ISSN 1890-9639)
  • Coxhead, A. (2017). Dealing with low response rates in quantitative studies. In H. Rose & J. McKinley (Eds.) Doing real research in Applied Linguistics, pp. 81-90. London: Routledge/Taylor and Francis.
  • Coxhead, A. (2017). Approaches and perspectives on teaching vocabulary for discipline-specific academic writing. In J. Flowerdew & T. Costley (Eds.) Discipline-specific writing: theory into practice, pp. 62-76. London: Routledge/Taylor and Francis.
  • Elgort, I., & Coxhead, A. (2016). An introduction to the Vocabulary Size Test: Description, application and evaluation. In Janna Fox & Vahid Aryadoust (Eds.) Trends in language assessment research and practice, pp. 286-301. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Nation, P., & Coxhead, A., Chung, M., & Quero, B. (2016). Specialized word lists. In I. S. P. Nation, Making and Using Word Lists for Language Learning and Testing (pp. 145-151). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Coxhead, A. & Bytheway, J. (2015). Learning vocabulary using two massive online resources: You will not blink. In D. Nunan & J. Richards (Eds.) Learning beyond the classroom (pp. 65-74). New York: Routledge.
  • Coxhead, A. (2014). Corpus linguistics and vocabulary teaching: Perspectives from English for Specific Purposes. In M. Gotti (ed.). Corpus analysis for descriptive and pedagogical purposes (pp. 289-301. Bern: Peter Lang.
  • Coxhead, A. (2013). Vocabulary and ESP. In B. Paltridge & S. Starfield (Eds.). The Handbook of English for Specific Purposes, pp. 115-132. Boston: Wiley-Blackwell.

Journal articles

  • Lu, C. & Coxhead, A. (2019). Vocabulary in Traditional Chinese Medicine: Insights from corpora. ITL - International Journal of Applied Linguistics. Available 2 April, 2019. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1075/itl.18020.lu
  • Coxhead, A. Nation, P., Woods, L. & Sim, D. (2018). Group vs. individual: How administration procedure can affect vocabulary test scores. New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics, 24 (2), 24-41.
  • Coxhead, A. & Boutorwick, T.J. (2018). Longitudinal vocabulary development in an EMI international school context: Learners and texts in EAL, Maths and Science. TESOL Quarterly, 52, 3: 588-610.
  • Jakobsen, A. S., Coxhead, A. & Henriksen, B. (2018). General and academic high frequency vocabulary in Danish. Nordand, 13, 1: 64–89.
  • Coxhead, A., McLaughlin, E. & Reid, A. (2018). The development and application of a specialised word list: The case of Fabrication. Journal of Vocational Education & Training. First view, 15 May, 2018. DOI: 10.1080/13636820.2018.1471094.
  • Coxhead, A. & Demecheleer, M. (2018). Investigating the technical vocabulary of Plumbing. English for Specific Purposes, 51: 84-97.
  • Coxhead, A. (2018). Replication research in pedagogical approaches to formulaic sequences: Jones & Haywood (2004) and Alali & Schmitt (2012). Language Teaching, 51, 1: 113 – 123. First published online 5 June 2015.
  • Coxhead, A. (2017). The lexical demands of teacher talk: An international school study of EAL, Maths and Science, Oslo Studies in Language, 9(3): 29-44.
  • Thomson, H., Boers, F. & Coxhead, A. (2017). Replication research in pedagogical approaches to spoken fluency and formulaic sequences: A call for replication of Wood (2009) and Boers, Eyckmans, Kappel, Stengers, & Demecheleer (2006). Language Teaching, 1-9. Doi: 10.1017/S0261444817000374
  • Coxhead, A. Dang, Y. & Mukai, S. (2017). University tutorials and laboratories: Corpora, textbooks and vocabulary. English for Academic Purposes. 30: 66–78.
  • Coxhead, A., Parkinson, J. & Tu’amoheloa, F. (2017). Using Talanoa to develop bilingual word lists of technical vocabulary in the trades. First view: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13670050.2017.1374329.
  • Dang, Y., Coxhead, A. & S. Webb. (2017). The Academic Spoken Word List. Language Learning 67 (3): 959–997.
  • Luxton, J., Fry, J. & Coxhead, A. (2017). Exploring the knowledge and development of academic English vocabulary of students in NZ secondary schools. SET, 17(1): 12-22
  • Coxhead, A., Demecheleer, M. & McLaughlin, E. (2016). The technical vocabulary of Carpentry: Loads, lists and bearings. TESOLANZ Journal, 24: 38-71.
  • Coxhead, A. (2016).Reflecting on Coxhead (2000) A New Academic Word List.TESOL Quarterly, 1: 181-185.
  • Mah, A. & Yeo, M. (2016). The wide and wild world of words: Interview with Averil Coxhead. RELC Journal, 47(2): 263-268.
  • Coxhead, A. (2015).Replication research in pedagogical approaches to formulaic sequences: Jones & Haywood (2004) and Alali & Schmitt (2012).Language Teaching / FirstView Article / June 2015, pp 1 – 11.DOI: 10.1017/S0261444815000221.
  • Coxhead, A.  Quero, B. (2015).Investigating a Science Vocabulary List in university medical textbooks.TESOLANZ Journal, 23: 55-65.
  • Coxhead, A., Nation, P.  Sim, D. (2015).Vocabulary size and native speaker secondary school students.New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies.DOI: 10.1007/s40841-015-0002-3.
  • Coxhead, A., Nation, P.  Sim, D. (2014).Creating and trialling six forms of the Vocabulary Size Test.TESOLANZ Journal, 22: 13-26.
  • Nation, P. and Coxhead, A.(2014). Vocabulary size research at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.Language Teaching, 47(3): 398 – 403.
  • Boers, F., Demecheleer, M., Coxhead, A, and Webb, S. (2014).Gauging the effectiveness of exercises on verb-noun collocations.Language Teaching Research, 18 (1): 50 - 70.

Technical reports

  • Parkinson, J., Coxhead, A., Demecheleer, M., Mackay, J., Matautia, L, McLaughlin, E., & Tu’amoheloa, F. (2017). The Language in the Trades Education project. Wellington: Ako Aotearoa.

Refereed conference proceedings

  • Coxhead, A. (2015). Vocabulary, English for Academic Purposes, and the Janus Moment: Mind the gap. In M. Kavanagh & L. Robinson (Eds.). Proceedings of the BALEAP 2013 conference: The Janus moment in EAP (pp. 13-21). Reading, UK: Garnett Education.
  • Coxhead, A. (2012). Multi-word units and the Academic Word List: Approaches to research and pedagogy. M. Barlow, H. Basturkmen, & Q. Li (Eds.). Abstracts of the First Asia Pacific Corpus Linguistics Conference, (pp. 10-12). DALSL, The University of Auckland: Auckland.
  • Coxhead, A. (2012). Specialised vocabulary in secondary school classrooms: Teachers' perspectives. In H. Pillay & M. Yeo (Eds.). Teaching language to learners of different age groups (pp. 194-205). Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Centre.

View all publications by Averil Coxhead

Research areas

Averil supervises MA and PhD research in the areas of vocabulary use and learning in a second language, with a particular interest in specialised vocabulary, Corpus Linguistics, vocabulary size, English for Academic Purposes and English for Specific Purposes.

Administrative responsibilities

  • Lead for VUW Trimester 3, 2019 project