Genre Analysis of Abstracts of Empirical Research Articles Published in TESOL Quarterly
Research article (RA) abstracts constitute an important genre in higher education. Previous research on the RA abstract has often combined abstracts from journals from the same discipline, with the view of revealing possible intra/inter-disciplinary, cross-linguistic, cross-cultural, etc. variations. The present study analysed empirical RA abstracts from TESOL Quarterly, a well-recognised journal in Applied Linguistics, with the view of revealing their rhetorical structure and linguistic peculiarities. Hundred (100) empirical RA abstracts collected from the website of the journal constituted the data for the study. The data were analysed, with attention to the move structure (kinds, frequency, and sequencing of moves) as well as the linguistics realisation of moves. The study revealed that TESOL Quarterly empirical RA abstracts feature a five-move structure, with the Purpose and Product moves being Obligatory and the Introduction, Method, and Conclusion moves being core moves. It was also revealed that the abstracts were characterised by nine move sequences, with the five-move sequence (M1>M2>M3>M4>M5) dominating. The study also revealed that each move was characterised by unique configurations of linguistic features, particularly tense, voice, and grammatical subject roles. This study contributes to scholarship on RA abstracts. It also has implications for pedagogy and practice, and serves as a trigger for further studies.