Lexical phrases in research article and PhD thesis abstracts in applied linguistics and psychology

Ileri, Nurcan (2019). Lexical phrases in research article and PhD thesis abstracts in applied linguistics and psychology. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The present study examined the macro level discourse functions (MALDIFs) and lexical phrases associated with these functions in 480 research article and PhD thesis abstracts in applied linguistics and psychology. We looked at disciplinary and generic variation in MALDIFs in terms of frequency of occurrence, sequencing of use and cyclicity. We also looked at variation in lexical phrases between disciplines and genres in terms of patterns and uses.
Two analyses were conducted: function analysis and lexical phrase analysis. First, macro- level discourse functions were identified using the MALDIF model for abstracts, which was developed for the purposes of this study. Second, AntConc version 3.4.4 was used to explore lexical phrases associated with these functions.
Two functions were found to be predominantly used in all four corpora of abstracts: presenting and evaluating the main findings (PEMF) and announcing the research (ATR). Introducing the topic (ITT) was more important for psychologists while applied linguists made more descriptions of methodology. MALDIFs were very similar in the research article and thesis abstracts.
Applied linguists had a tendency to use more ATR patterns in abstracts, suggesting a focus on own research. Psychologists tended to start abstracts with ITT, which suggests an attempt to situate the research in the field of study. Research article and thesis writers preferred ATR patterns more in abstracts.
Psychology abstracts contained more functional cycles than applied linguistics abstracts. The thesis abstracts contained more than four times as many cycles as the research article abstracts.
The comparison of LP use by discipline revealed both similarities and differences between applied linguistics and psychology in terms of LP patterns and the obligatory elements.
The disciplinary and generic comparison of LP patterns showed similarities between disciplines in pattern totals (functions combined), but pointed to differences between RAs and TAs. The largest generic variation was seen in pattern 1 (9.80%). Pattern 1 LPs were found to be used more frequently compared to pattern 2 and 3 LPs in the comparative data of disciplines and genres.
The greatest degree of variability between disciplines and genres was found in PEMF. The widest range of differences for PEMF were seen in pattern 1 in the disciplinary as well as the generic data.
The disciplinary comparison presented variation in DTM LPs. Applied linguistics writers used at least twice more DTM LPs in all three patterns than psychologists did. The largest difference between disciplines was found in DTM pattern 2. DTM was the most frequent LP type in pattern 2 for applied linguistics. Another important generic difference was seen in ATR. ATR pattern 2 was three times more common in the TA corpus than in the RA corpus.
The comparison of subject types, NP subject, verb and verb complement also showed disciplinary and generic differences as well as similarities.
The study has implications for genre analysis and English for academic purposes.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Language and Linguistics
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/9259


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