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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 EIGHT - Conclusions - 219


219 CHAPTER 8 Conclusions This book has investigated grant seeking, an indispensable literate activ- ity in academic life. Specifically, the study has investigated the textual features of two pivotal genres (i.e., research grant proposals and grant reviews) in the genre system, and explored how genres in this genre sys- tem, as mediating tools, enable scholars to negotiate agency, strategically position themselves, construct their voice and identity, and build up an important part of their professional expertise. In this closing chapter, I will first summarize how the study has of- fered a thick description (Geertz, 1973) of the grant-seeking activity in Hong Kong by drawing upon two genre theories, bringing together two analytical foci, and making use of two methodological approaches. Since this book was written in the Article-Compilation format (see Swales, 2004), this summary is at the same time an explanation for how individ- ual chapters, instead of being discrete, relate to each other and constitute an organic whole. Implications for genre analysts, novice grant writers, NNES scholars, and the Hong Kong funding agencies will then be dis- cussed. Finally, the limitations of the present study will be reflected upon and suggestions for further research will be proposed. 8.1 A thick Description of the Grant Seeking Activity in Hong Kong 8.1.1 Synthesis of Two Epistemic Understandings of Genre and Context With two genre theories – the ESP and the New Rhetoric – forming the theoretical bases, this study was able to offer a rich description of the grant-seeking activity in Hong Kong...

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