Corpora have been used in the teaching of languages for specific purposes since the late 1960s, and a considerable body of research publications now exists to provide guidance for those who wish to integrate data-driven learning in their specialised language courses. The creation of genre-specific corpora is a feature of many projects, as is the use of the corpus data to focus on vocabulary or grammar.
This paper investigates the use of a corpus of articles on biotechnology in French with university students of biotechnology. After situating the study in the context of research on corpora in language learning, the paper explores the issues involved in the creation of an appropriate corpus. As the students are not yet specialists, articles on biotechnology at popularisation level were chosen, taken from Le Monde and La Recherche. The integration of the corpus in the French language course is described, and the learners’ reactions are evaluated through questionnaires, semi-structured group interviews, and teacher observation.