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Discourses and Tales of Grant-Seeking Activity

Academic Writing and Professional Expertise

Series:

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 FOUR - Voices and Positioning: A Quantitative and Qualitative Studyof Grant Writers’ Referential Acts in the Literature Review - 93

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93 CHAPTER 4 Voices and Positioning: A Quantitative and Qualitative Study of Grant Writers’ Referential Acts in the Literature Review 4.1 Introduction Termed ‘manifest intertextuality’ by Fairclough (1992), citation plays an important role in academic writing. It is ‘an extremely strong force in structuring articles and binding articles to each other’ (Bazerman, 1988, p. 157). It is ‘a courtship ritual designed to enhance a writer’s standing in a scholarly discourse community’ (Rose, 1996, p. 34). And it is a rhetor- ical strategy to enable a scholar to contextualize his local knowledge within an ongoing history of knowledge production and distribution (Berkenkotter and Huckin, 1995). As I will discuss in the following section, research into academic citations can be seen as interweaving of mainly two strands: ‘scientome- tric’ and discourse analytic studies. Despite their different purposes, these two strands have however in recent years drawn upon each other’s research. Applied linguists, for instance, have become increasingly aware that researching syntactic and lexical features of citation alone may not serve their pedagogical purpose well. How to integrate the analysis of citational forms and the investigation of the ‘underlying logic’ (White, 2004) is a major challenge we face. In this chapter, I look into grant writers’ referential acts in the litera- ture review (henceforth LR), the longest section in the research grant proposal where writers are supposed to impress the funding committee with their track record and the significance of the chosen topic. This study consists of two parts. In the first part,...

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