Language Use in Writing Research Articles in Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Mathematics (STEAM): A Genre Analysis

Prof. Arsenia A. Abuel, PhD 
Assistant Professor IV, Applied Linguistics Program, Department of Languages, Literature, and Humanities, College of Arts and Sciences, Southern Luzon State University


The study reports on the examination of introduction, method, result and discussion (IMRD) sections of research articles in science, technology, engineering, agriculture and mathematics (STEAM) which are written and prepared by non-native speakers (NNS) of English particularly the Filipino professionals. Specifically, this study identified the rhetorical structures of research articles published in Philippine journals in STEAM. The corpus consisted of fifty (50) RAs drawn from a wide range of refereed journals in five discourse communities. The rhetorical structure of research articles was explored via genre analysis. The corpus of research articles (RAs) was analyzed following Swales’ framework (1990 & 2004), Kanoksilapatham ( 2005), Peacock ( 2011) and Yang and Allison’s (2003) model to segment the IMRD structures into sub-units called ‘moves’ and ‘steps,’ respectively, according to their communicative functions. Based on the findings, two-level rhetorical structures (moves and steps) of 18 distinct moves: three moves for the Introduction section, four for the Methods section, four for the Results section, and seven for the Discussion section characterized research articles (RAs) published in Philippine journals in STEAM. This study provides a basic yet comprehensive and typical model of rhetorical structure for organizing research articles in science, technology, engineering, agriculture and mathematics (STEAM). In this regard, the notion of conforming to the norms and conventions laid down by the discourse community can be used as means of marshalling ideas into an appropriately ordered text and can be presented in the classroom to raise learner’s consciousness of discipline specific genre writing skills.

Keywords: language use, research articles, genre analysis, moves and steps, rhetorical structure

Editor’s Note: This paper is originally published in the peer-reviewed MINSCAT, EDS Business School and TUCST Research Journal Volume 2, Number 2. Published with permission from the author.

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