Tawalbeh, Ahmad (2019) The Rhetoric of Accounts of Methodology in English and Arabic Educational Research Articles: A Contrastive Genre Analysis. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Genre analysts have conducted contrastive studies on research articles (henceforth RAs) written in different languages giving primary attention to the introduction section. The methods section has not been given similar attention although it is an essential part of empirical RAs. There are no contrastive studies, to the best of my knowledge, which have tackled accounts of methodology of English and Arabic RAs. This dissertation, therefore, aims to identify and discuss the cross-cultural similarities and differences in the rhetorical features (i.e. moves and steps; see Swales 1990) of the accounts of methodology of Educational RAs written in English and Arabic and to compare these articles in terms of the assumed shared knowledge between writers and readers.

In pursuing these aims, two sets of method sections were analysed based on Swales’ (1990) move analysis approach and bottom-up processing. One set is written in English and it consists of 36 method sections. The other set is in Arabic and consists of 40 method sections. All sections were selected from RAs published in prestigious English and Arabic journals in the field of Education. In order to identify the assumed shared knowledge, the perspective of tacit knowledge was used.

The findings show that there are similarities at the move level between the English and Arabic RAs and there are some differences at the step level. In some Arabic articles, some steps reoccur in one and in the same RA resulting in repetition while this is found in fewer English articles. The findings also illustrate some cultural differences in identifying the assumed shared knowledge.

The key contribution to knowledge is to provide similarities and differences in the rhetorical features which shape the accounts of methodology of English and Arabic Educational RAs, so information about Arabic academic discourse is given. The results of this dissertation offer insights for enhancing writing textbooks. The results may also help empower beginner academic writers from the two discourse communities. This can be realised by the proposed framework which describes all possible rhetorical features of the accounts of methodology. Beginner academic writers could follow the rhetorical structures in their writing of accounts of methodology. Another contribution is to identify the presuppositions about what readers already know. Identifying the authors’ assumptions presents a picture about how the two discourse communities differ and about what it is that readers may need to understand.

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