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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 FIVE - Averral and attribution: A Study of Niche Claimsand Citations in Them - 145


145 CHAPTER 5 Averral and Attribution: A Study of Niche Claims and Citations in Them 5.1 Introduction In Chapter 4, I developed a model of citations that forges a close link between citational formats and citational functions. In this chapter, I will use the model to take a look at the referential behavior in the move of establishing a niche. As we know, establishing a niche is the core move of Swales’ (1990) Create A Research Space (CARS) model; only by rhe- torically creating a slot in the literature can the writer justify his/her re- search and successfully negotiate his/her positioning in relation to the community. The importance of the move has been discussed not only in studies of research article introductions (e.g., Lewin et al., 2001; Samraj, 2002), but also in studies of other academic genres like research grant proposals (e.g., Connor and Mauranen, 1999; Feng and Shi, 2004). In Swales’s (1990) first discussion of the CARS model, four realiza- tions were offered of establishing a niche: counterclaiming, raising ques- tion, indicating a gap, and continuing a tradition. Lewin et al. (2001) later suggested three primary options for establishing a niche, which are de- fect, scarcity, and obscurity respectively. Defect refers to cases in which a niche is established by indicating the defects in existing research, e.g. ‘Many previous studies on [x] have not included control or comparison groups…’ Scarcity refers to the act of claiming that relevant research does not exist or is scarce, as in ‘Since...

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