INSTITUTE OF EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES
M.A. PROGRAM IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE EDUCATION
M.A. Thesis Defense
A CORPUS DRIVEN GENRE ANALYSIS STUDY ON ELT GRADUATE STUDENTS’ USE AND PERCEPTIONS OF DISCUSSION MOVES IN RESEARCH ARTICLES
Date & Time: Thursday, February 28th, 2019, 10.30
Place: Faculty of Education, Law Building Room 217
All interested are cordially invited.
This study investigates the genre-specific rhetorical structure of discussion sections of unpublished research articles (RAs) written by Turkish MA and Ph.D. students enrolled in an ELT graduate program. The first aim of this research is to identify the frequencies of expert discussion moves used by graduate students in the corpus of their RAs, and subsequently designate if there is a significant difference between the two groups of writers in the use of these moves. The other aim is to investigate the extent to which graduate students’ perceptions regarding the importance of discussion moves are reflected in their own texts. For the purpose of the study, a 35.437-word specialized corpus including the discussion sections of 58 empirical studies, 31 written in MA courses and 27 in Ph.D. courses by a total of 45 graduate students, was compiled. A sentence-based move structure analysis was conducted using the framework developed by Eveyik-Aydın, Karabacak, and Akyel; and a chi-square test was run to check any statistical differences between the occurrences of discussion moves identified in the MA and Ph.D. RAs. Besides, to find the perceptions of graduate writers on the importance of moves to be included in discussion sections, a 4-point Likert scale was developed and implemented.
The results of the move analysis indicated that interpreting results and making claims based on them and drawing pedagogical implications were the most frequently identified functional categories in the discussions of both MA and Ph.D. students. The analysis revealed differences in the occurrence of other move-step categories, but Ph.D. students’ reference to literature for interpretation of their findings was found to be statistically more often than MA students’ use of this move-step category. As for their perceptions, data obtained through the scale revealed that both MA and Ph.D. writers attached importance to most of the discussion moves; however, these moves were either underused or not used at all in their writings. Especially their views regarding the importance of referring to literature for various purposes, and summary move-steps were not reflected by their writings. The study discusses the possible reasons for these findings and highlights the importance of developing a genre-based academic writing course to be offered to graduate students in which they can study the corpus-driven data to raise their awareness of the rhetorical structure of RAs. In that sense, the study claims its significance not only by offering an instrument to identify graduate students’ perceptions but also by showing how corpus data can be used for instructional purposes to unveil these novice writers’ academic writing needs and to meet these needs so they can produce RAs in line with the norms of discourse community.
Keywords: Discussion moves, genre-specific rhetorical structure, move analysis, research articles, specialized corpus.