Idioma: Español
Fecha: Subida: 2021-04-12T00:00:00+02:00
Duración: 18m 56s
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Establish a niche via negation: A corpus-based study of Move 2 in Ph.D. thesis introductions (...)

Shuyi Sun and Peter Crosthwaite (University of Queensland)


The past few decades have witnessed an upsurge of scholarly interest in the generic
descriptions of Ph.D. theses following Swales’ (1990) genre analysis. Fitted within the
Create A Research Space (CARS) model (Swales, 1990), the thesis introduction (a.k.a.
introductory section/chapter) plays a key role in justifying the originality/significance
of the research, where novice writers engage with the disciplinary community to
‘establish a research territory’ (Move 1), ‘establish a niche’ (Move 2), and ‘occupy the
niche’ (Move 3). As the hinge of the CARS model, Move 2 (hereinafter EN) is of
strategic importance as it enables writers to ‘sell’ their ideas by pointing to the gap/need
in the ‘marketplace’ of previous research (Paltridge & Starfield, 2019), which is
typically realized through the employment of negation (e.g. “X has not been fully
explored”) alongside other evaluative resources at the discourse-semantic stratum.
Negation, as a disclaim marker within Martin and White’s (2005) appraisal framework,
is a prominent linguistic indicator of EN (e.g. Shehzad, 2008; Swales & Feak, 2012).
Nevertheless, little prior research has systematically examined the discipline-specific
use of negation in ENs of Ph.D. thesis introductions.
Accordingly, the researchers conducted a corpus-based study to investigate negation
via the appraisal framework, addressing subtypes of negation (disalignment, cautious detachment, unfulfilled expectation, validity) within ENs in the introduction sections of
Ph.D. theses across disciplines (hard-applied, hard-pure, soft-applied, soft-pure). Our
research questions are addressed below.
(1) What features of negation are displayed in ENs of thesis introductions?
(2) What is the extent of disciplinary variation in the forms and functions of negation
within ENs? We collected 120 Ph.D. theses to construct four corpora of 30 texts per corpus
representing each disciplinary group following Becher’s (1989) hard/soft applied/pure
typology, and then employed a qualitative corpus-based top-down approach (Cotos et
al., 2015) to identify and manually extract the target move. UAMCorpusTool
(O’Donnell, 2019) was adopted to annotate negation subcategories alongside other
relevant appraisal resources (subtypes of attitude, engagement, graduation). Finally,
we used R (R Core Team, 2020) to calculate and visualize cross-corpus variation in the
target resources.
Our preliminary findings revealed noteworthy variation in the use of negation across
hard-pure and soft-applied corpora. For instance, thesis writers in soft-applied
disciplines more frequently adopted negation alongside attitude of tenacity
(resolute/dependable) via inscribed (direct) mode. In addition, inter-disciplinary
variation was identified across hard-applied and hard-pure corpora with significantly
more negation found in the former, though writers in hard-applied disciplines less
frequently upscale (intensify/enhance) inscribed attitude compared with writers in soft
disciplines. Furthermore, analyses of more frequent co-occurrences of negation subcategories co-occurring with other appraisal resources (e.g. counter +
negation:disalignment + tenacity) further indicated cross-disciplinary variation in the
choice and sequence of co-articulated items and their rhetorical effects, revealing
insights into thesis writers’ discipline-specific ways of establishing a niche among
previous research. We finish by explaining how the findings can inform disciplinary
thesis writing practice and the incorporation of a corpus-based approach to EAP studies.


Congreso Cilc 2021


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Serie: CILC2021: Discurso, análisis literario y corpus / Discourse, literary analysis and corpora (+información)