How is information content distributed in RA introductions across disciplines? An entropy-based approach
Recent years have witnessed a growing interest in research article (RA thereafter) introductions. Most previous studies focused on the macro structures, rhetorical functions and linguistic realizations of RA introductions, but few intended to investigate the information content distribution from the perspective of information theory. The current study conducted an entropy-based study on the distributional patterns of information content in RA introductions and their variations across disciplines (humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences). Three indices, that is, one-, two-, and three-gram entropies, were used to analyze 120 RA introductions (40 introductions from each disciplinary area). The results reveal that, first, in RA introductions, the information content is unevenly distributed, with the information content of Move 1 being the highest, followed in sequence by Move 3 and Move 2; second, the three entropy indices may reflect different linguistic features of RA introductions; and, third, disciplinary variations of information content were found. In Move 1, the RA introductions of natural sciences are more informative than those of the other two disciplines, and in Move 3 the RA introductions of social sciences are more informative as well. This study has implications for genre-based instruction in the pedagogy of academic writing, as well as the broadening of the applications of quantitative corpus linguistic methods into less touched fields.
Ädel, Annelie. 2014. Selecting quantitative data for qualitative analysis: A case study connecting a lexicogrammatical pattern to rhetorical moves. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 16: 68–80.
Ahamad, Mohamed I. and Amira M. Yusof. 2012. A genre analysis of Islamic academic research article introductions. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 66: 157–168.
Ahmad, Ummul. 1997. Research article introductions in Malay: Rhetoric in an emerging research community. In Anna Duszak ed. Culture and Styles in Academic Discourse. Berlín: Mouton de Gruyter, 273–303.
Anthony, Laurence. 2017. AntFileConverter (version 1.2.1). Tokyo, Japan: Waseda University. http://www.laurenceanthony.net/ (01 May, 2020.)
Berkenkotter, Carol and Thomas N. Huckin. 1995. Genre knowledge in disciplinary communication: Cognition/Culture/Power. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Chen, Ruina, Haitao Liu and Gabriel Altmann. 2016. Entropy in different text types. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities 32/3: 528–542.
Connor, Ulla, Kenneth Davis and Teun de Rycker. 1995. Correctness and clarity in applying for overseas jobs: A cross-cultural analysis of US and Flemish applications. Text & Talk 15/4: 457–475.
Cortes, Viviana. 2013. The purpose of this study is to: Connecting lexical bundles and moves in research article introductions. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 12/1: 33–43.
Cross, Cate and Charles Oppenheim. 2006. A genre analysis of scientific abstracts. Journal of Documentation 62: 428–446.
De Swart, Rinse, Francesca Ribas, Daniel Calvete, Aart Kroon, and Alejandro Orfila. 2020. Optimal estimations of directional wave conditions for nearshore field studies. Continental Shelf Research 196: 104071.
Del Saz Rubio, M. Milagros. 2011. A pragmatic approach to the macro-structure and metadiscoursal features of research article introductions in the field of Agricultural Sciences. English for Specific Purposes 30/4: 258–271.
Ehret, Katharina and Benedikt Szmrecsanyi. 2016. An information-theoretic approach to assess linguistic complexity. In Raffaela Baechler and Guido Seiler eds. Complexity, Isolation, and Variation. Berlin: Boston De Gruyter, 71–94.
Ehret, Katharina and Benedikt Szmrecsanyi. 2019. Compressing learner language: An information-theoretic measure of complexity in SLA production data. Second Language Research 35/1: 23–45.
Esfandiari, Rajab and Fatima Barbary. 2017. A contrastive corpus-driven study of lexical bundles between English writers and Persian writers in psychology research articles. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 29: 21–42.
Fakhri, Ahmed. 2004. Rhetorical properties of Arabic research article introductions. Journal of Pragmatics 36/6: 1119–1138.
Grant, Adam M. and Timothy G. Pollock. 2011. Publishing in AMJ—part 3: Setting the hook. Academy of Management Journal 54/5: 873–879.
Hamp-Lyons Liz and Ben Heasley. 2006. Study Writing: A Course in Writing Skills for Academic Purposes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hirano, Eliana. 2009. Research article introductions in English for specific purposes: A comparison between Brazilian Portuguese and English. English for Specific Purposes 28: 240–250.
Holmes, Richard. 1997. Genre analysis, and the social sciences: An investigation of the structure of research article discussions sections in three disciplines. English for Specific Purposes 16: 321–337.
Hyland, Ken. 2000. Disciplinary Discourse: Social Interactions in Academic Writing. London: Longman.
Joseph, Renu, Jason Miin-Hwa Lim and Nor Arifah Mohd. 2014. Communicative moves in forestry research introductions: Implications for the design of learning materials. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 134: 53–69.
Juola, Patrick. 2008. Assessing Linguistic Complexity. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Juola, Patrick. 2013. Using the Google N-Gram corpus to measure cultural complexity. Literary and Linguistic Computing 28/4: 668–675.
Kanoksilapatham, Budsaba. 2005. Rhetorical structure of biochemistry research articles. English for Specific Purposes 24/3: 269–292.
Kanoksilapatham, Budsaba. 2015. Distinguishing textual features characterizing structural variation in research articles across three engineering sub-discipline corpora. English for Specific Purposes 37: 74–86.
Kashiha, Hadi and Susan S. Marandi. 2019. Rhetoric-specific features of interactive metadiscourse in introduction moves: A case of discipline awareness. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 37/1: 1–14.
Khany, Reza, and Neda Babanezhad Kafshgar. 2016. Analyzing texts through their linguistic properties: A cross-disciplinary study. Journal of Quantitative Linguistics 23/1: 278–294.
Khedri, Mohsen and Konstantinos Kritsis. 2018. Metadiscourse in applied linguistics and chemistry research article introductions. Journal of Research in Applied Linguistics 9/2: 47–73.
Kim, Loi Check and Jason Miin-Hwa. 2013. Metadiscourse in English and Chinese research article introductions. Discourse Studies 15/2: 129–146.
Kuteeva, Maria and John Airey. 2014. Disciplinary differences in the use of English in higher education: Reflections on recent policy developments. Higher Education 67/5: 533–549.
Li, Zhijun and Jinfen Xu. 2020. Reflexive metadiscourse in Chinese and English sociology research article introductions and discussions. Journal of Pragmatics 159: 47–59.
Lim, Jason Miin-Hwa. 2012. How do writers establish research niches? A genre-based investigation into management researchers’ rhetorical steps and linguistic mechanisms. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 11/3: 229–245.
Lin, Ling and Stephen Evans. 2012. Structural patterns in empirical research articles: A cross-disciplinary study. English for Specific Purposes 31/3: 150–160.
Lindeberg, Ann C. 2004. Promotion and Politeness: Conflicting Scholarly Rhetoric in Three Disciplines. Pargas, Finland: Åbo Akademi University Press.
Loi, Chek Kim and Moyra Sweetnam Evans. 2010. Cultural differences in the organization of research article introductions from the field of educational psychology: English and Chinese. Journal of Pragmatics 42/10: 2814–2825.
Lu, Xiaofei. 2012. A corpus-based evaluation of syntactic complexity measures as indices of college-level ESL writers’ language development. TESOL Quarterly 45/1: 36–62.
Lu, Xiaofei, J. Elliott Casal and Yingying Liu. 2020. The rhetorical functions of syntactically complex sentences in social science research article introductions. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 44: Article 100832.
Martín, Pedro and Isabel K. León Pérez. 2014. Convincing peers of the value of one’s research: A genre analysis of rhetorical promotion in academic texts. English for Specific Purposes 34/1: 1–13.
Mizumoto, Atsushi, Hamatani Sawako and Imao Yasuhiro. 2017. Applying the bundle-move connection approach to the development of an online writing support tool for research articles. Language Learning 67/4: 885–921.
Muangsamai, Pornsiri. 2018. Analysis of moves, rhetorical patterns and linguistic features in New Scientist articles. Kasetsart Journal of Social Sciences 39/2: 236–243.
Nwogu, Kevin Ngozi. 1997. The medical research paper: Structure and functions. English for Specific Purposes 16/2: 119–138.
Ozturk, Ismet. 2007. The textual organization of research article introductions in applied linguistics: Variability within a single discipline. English for Specific Purposes 26: 25–38.
R Core Team. 2018. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. https://www.R-project.org/ (01 May, 2020.)
Ren, Hongwei, and Yuying Li. 2011. A comparison study on the rhetorical moves of abstracts in published research articles and master’s foreign-language theses. English Language Teaching 4/1: 162–166.
Samraj, Betty. 2002. Introductions in research articles: Variations across disciplines. English for Specific Purposes 21/1: 1–17.
Samraj, Betty. 2008. A discourse analysis of master's theses across disciplines with a focus on introductions. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 7/1: 55–67.
Saricaoglu, Aysel, Zeynep Bilki, and Lia Plakans. 2021. Syntactic complexity in learner-generated research paper introductions: Rhetorical functions and level of move/step realization. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 53: Article 101037.
Shannon, Claude E. 1948. A mathematical theory of communication. The Bell System Technical Journal 27/3: 379–423.
Shehzad, Wasima. 2008. Move two: Establishing a niche. Iberica 15/1: 25–50.
Shehzad, Wasima. 2010. Announcement of the principal findings and value addition in computer science research papers. Iberica 19/1: 97–118.
Sheldon, Elena. 2011. Rhetorical differences in RA introductions written by English L1 and L2 and Castilian Spanish L1 writers. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 10/4: 238–251.
Swales, John M. 1990. Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Swales, John M. 2004. Research Genres: Explorations and Applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Swales, John M. and Christine B. Feak. 2004. Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Swales, John M. and Christine B. Feak. 2012. Academic Writing for Graduate Students. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Tankó, Gyula. 2017. Literary research article abstracts: An analysis of rhetorical moves and their linguistic realizations. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 27: 42–55.
Taş, Elvan Eda. I. 2008. A Corpus-based Analysis of Genre-specific Discourse of Research: The PhD Thesis and the Research Article in ELT. Ankara, Turkey: Middle East Technical University dissertation.
Taylor, Gordon and Chen Tingguang. 1991. Linguistic, cultural, and subcultural issues in contrastive discourse analysis: Anglo-American and Chinese scientific texts. Applied Linguistics 12/3: 319–336.
Validi, Mahmood, Alireza Jalilifar, Zohreh G. Shooshtari and Abdolmajid Hayati. 2016. Medical research article introductions in Persian and English contexts: Rhetorical and metadiscoursal differences. Journal of Research in Applied Linguistics 7/2: 73–98.
Van der Lubbe, Jan C. A. 1997. Information Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wang, Weihong and Chengsong Yang. 2015. Claiming centrality as promotion in applied linguistics research article introductions. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 20: 162–175.
Xiao, Wei, and Shuyi Sun. 2020. Dynamic lexical features of PhD theses across disciplines: A text mining approach. Journal of Quantitative Linguistics 27/2: 114–133.
Xie, Jianping. 2017. Evaluation in moves: An integrated analysis of Chinese MA thesis literature reviews. English Language Teaching 10/3: 1–20.
Ye, Yunping. 2019. Macrostructures and rhetorical moves in energy engineering research articles written by Chinese expert writers. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 38: 48–61.
Zhu, Haoran and Lei Lei. 2017. British cultural complexity: An entropy-based approach. Journal of Quantitative Linguistics 25/2: 190–205.
Zhu, Haoran and Lei Lei. 2018. Is modern English becoming less inflectionally diversified? Evidence from entropy-based algorithm. Lingua 216: 10–27.
Copyright (c) 2022 Research in Corpus Linguistics
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.