Variation and Change
Research Article Abstracts as Domain-specific Epistemological Indicators: A Corpus-based Study: Michele Sala
Research Article Abstracts as Domain-specific Epistemological Indicators: A Corpus-based Study
This chapter discusses research article abstracts (RAABs) as an embodiment of central discipline-related epistemological factors. Using RAABs in four different disciplines – namely Applied linguistics (henceforth ALABs), Economics (ECABs), Law (LAABs) and Medicine (MEABs) – we will investigate how differently and according to what linguistic parameters such texts codify ideational material, represent disciplinary beliefs and values, and negotiate meanings with the community of reference.
The adherence to disciplinary epistemology-based canons is central to RAABs for several reasons (Melander et al. 1997; Lorés 2004; Samraj 2005). First, the RAAB is an academic genre whose purpose is to anticipate and point to an associated text, i.e. the corresponding research article (henceforth RA), by performing both an informative and a promotional function (Berkenkotter/Huckin 1995; Hyland 2007; Bondi 2010a), namely by selectively indicating the content of the ensuing text and eliciting the reader's interest or curiosity as to the type of contribution and the possible worth of the following RA (Swales/Feak 2009). This promotional function is textually realized through the deployment of conventionalized linguistic strategies, especially at the interpersonal level of discourse, which are distinctively discipline specific, by the use of which writers represent both themselves as ‘insiders’ (Hyland 2007) and, as a consequence, their research as the work of an expert, i.e. a representative and recognizable community member. ← 199 | 200 →