The present paper focused on the sociocultural explanations of rhetorical differences between English and Persian and was based on the contrastive genre analysis of Applied Linguistics research article abstracts in these two languages. The evolutionary nature of research article abstracts was also investigated from 1985 to 2005, in three stages, with a time interval of 10 years. Seventy eight research article abstracts were analyzed, forty two of which were taken from two English journals and the rest from two Persian journals.
The levels of generic structure contrasted included rhetorical moves, linguistic structure, and formal and textual layout. The rhetorical moves were investigated using move analysis with reference to Swales CARS (Create A Research Space) model and/ or IMRC (Introduction, Method, Results, Conclusion) Model. For investigating the linguistic features, the aspects of Tense and the use of I/We pronoun were taken into consideration and finally, with regard to the textual and formal layout, the relative length of the steps was probed. The results indicated differences between English and Persian research article abstracts, especially with regard to their evolution.