A Structural Move Analysis of Discussion Sub-genre in Applied Linguistics

Mohammad Nodoushan

Abstract


The current study aimed at finding the probable differences between the move structure of Iranian MA graduates’ thesis discussion subgenres and those of their non-Iranian counterparts, on the one hand, and those of journal paper authors, on the other. It also aimed at identifying the moves that are considered obligatory, conventional, or optional by Iranian MA graduates. 46 (N = 46) masters thesis ‘discussion’ sections taken randomly from a  pool of 93 discussions written in English by Iranian EFL students comprised the corpus for this study. The AntMover software as well as two human coders identified and coded the moves found in the corpus. The resulting move frequencies were compared to those of Rasmeenin’s (2006) study as well as Yang and Allison’s (2003) framework using a set of Mann-Whitney U tests as well as One-Sample t-Tests. Results indicated that there is a significant difference in the move frequency of the discussion sub-genre of MA theses written by Iranian versus non-Iranian EFL students. There was also a significant difference in the move frequency of the discussion sub-genre of MA theses written by Iranian EFL students and the discussion sub-genre of journal papers published in internationally recognized applied-linguistic journals. Obligatory, conventional, and optional moves were also identified.  It was concluded that academic writing teachers need to focus on move structures and make their students move-sensitive.


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