Interfaces of Macro and Microstructure in Academic Writing: The Case of Research Article Abstracts

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Iran, Islamic Azad University

2 English Department, Islamic Azad University, Maragheh Branch., Maragheh, Iran.



Although flourishing research has been devoted to research on article abstracts, more studies are needed to unpack the relationship between rhetorical moves and their associated linguistic and rhetorical features (e.g., metadiscourse). To underpin this relationship, the current study analyzed a total of 60 research article abstracts written in English by two cultural groups in three disciplines . The first stage identified the rhetorical structure of the abstracts based on Hyland’s (2000) move pattern. Then, the metadiscourse features prototypical of each move were determined, following Hyland’s (2005a) interpersonal model. We found diverse move patterns in both cultural groups. In the Anglo-American group, the abstracts tend to be more compatible with Hyland’s (2000) move structure, whereas the Iranians prefer to omit some of those moves. The results also revealed that there was a close relationship between the communicative function of moves and metadiscourse choices per move. This finding suggests that meadiscourse features can be manipulated effectively to fulfill the communicative intentions of moves. This study has rewarding pedagogical implications for ESP/EAP context, especially in writing courses.
Key words: Move structure; metadiscourse; abstract; rhetorical feature