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Discourses and Tales of Grant-Seeking Activity

Academic Writing and Professional Expertise


Haying Feng

Grant seeking – the first step in knowledge production – has been an indispensable part of academic life, yet a challenging task for neophyte as well as veteran scholars. We are always curious about how grant winners compose their abstracts, cite previous work, present their proposed study, and negotiate with gate-keepers behind the scene. Building upon ethnographic data and a large corpus of authentic research grant proposals and grant reviews, this book intends to demystify the grant seeking activity. It is an invaluable resource for grant agencies, grant reviewers and grant writers, particularly novice grant writers and/or non-native English writers.
Discourses and Tales of Grant-Seeking Activity is however more than a resource book. It is one of the few studies that draw upon two genre theories, encompass both quantitative and qualitative research approaches, and unite an exploration of macro-level recurrences in discursive activity and micro-level examinations of individual writers’ agency, positioning, negotiation and identity construction. It enhances our understanding of the development of professional expertise in academia and thus will be of interest to researchers in the fields of academic writing, genre analysis and Language for Specific Purposes (LSP).


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CHAPTER TWO - Theoretical Framework - 15


15 CHAPTER 2 Theoretical Framework This chapter presents an integrated theoretical framework for this book. As I argued earlier, two strands of genre theories, ESP and the New Rhetoric, form the main backdrop for the thinking in this book. In this chapter, therefore, I will begin with a review of three genre schools (Hyon, 1996), discussing their varying interpretations of genre and re- cent theoretical developments, with a focus on the ESP and the New Rhetoric approaches. The notion of context is then discussed in terms of the different ways in which it is viewed in the ESP approach and the New Rhetoric approach. While section 2.1 focuses on genre scholarship and how we research writing in terms of genre, in section 2.2 I turn my attention to the theories that lead us to see the agency of individual writ- ers. Three notions, voice, identity, and positioning, which have provided useful scaffolding for the book, are introduced and discussed. 2.1 Research Writing in Terms of Genre 2.1.1 The Development of the Genre Concept The term genre comes from the Latin word genus. It is by giving its genus and its characteristics that we define a species. Likewise, it is our know- ledge of the genre to which a text belongs that helps us to better under- stand the text. Genre has thus long been used in the sphere of classification, and genre theories have been seen as ‘various attempts to develop tax- onomies or classificatory schemes or to set forth...

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