Rhetorical Structure of Research Article Abstracts in Environmental Science

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Supachai Saeeaw
Supong Tangkiengsirisin


Given a massive influx of information, abstracts are considered very useful for accessing pertinent literature and filtering large numbers of articles submitted to the journals rather than perusing through the entire document. In order to create an effective one, many non-English speaking scholars may confront the major challenge of developing writing strategies that conform to the conventions of their own disciplines. Using Hyland’s (2000) five-move model, the objective of this study is to examine the rhetorical structure of research article abstracts in environmental science. The findings indicate that all of the moves, except for Introduction move, were conventional. I-P-M-Pr-C was the most prevalent structure, with Methods and Product the most cyclical moves. Some writers also resorted to embedding strategies to maintain conciseness. Further analysis reveals key linguistic features associated with each particular move. Despite the shared disciplinary content, variations of language choices to some extent can be observed. Pedagogical implications of the findings suggest how the notion of genre can be implemented into reading and writing instruction. Language teachers are highly encouraged to empower their students with strategies in response to the common rhetorical practices. A better understanding of genre characterization will contribute to more active learning participation in class activities and ultimately encourage learners to disseminate their knowledge into the research world.


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Author Biographies

Supachai Saeeaw

Supachai Saeeaw is a graduate at Language Institute, Thammasat University, Thailand. He completed the bachelor’s degree of Arts in English from Silpakorn University. His current research interests are English pronunciation teaching, genre analysis, language testing and assessment, academic reading and writing instruction, and English for academic purposes.

Supong Tangkiengsirisin

Supong Tangkiengsirisin is an Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics at the Language Institute of Thammasat University. With over 25 years of teaching experience at the tertiary level, he has covered a wide range of areas in his teaching including academic writing, business communication, English for Specific Purposes, and career-related English skills, both in the undergraduate and graduate levels. He developed several coursebooks and teaching materials for academic and ESP courses. He also serves as a trainer for school teachers of English who wish to improve their language skills and enhance their professional development.  His research interests involve second language writing, written discourse analysis, genre analysis, and interlanguage pragmatics.


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