How can Learning about the Structure of Research Articles Help International Students?

Pho, Phuong Dzung

Abstract:  The number of international students coming to Australia or New Zealand to obtain higher degrees is
on the increase. Few of them, however, had their research published in scholarly journals during their
study. Evidence from research into professional academic writing has indicated that many non-native
speaking researchers have difficulty getting their work published in English. One of the problematic
areas, as pointed out by Flowerdew (2001), is the structure of the article. Although there have been a
considerable number of studies on academic writing in general and this research genre in particular,
previous research tended to focus on the structure of only one or two sections of the article, especially
the introduction section. Yet, it is important to understand the complete rhetorical structure of the
research article. It is therefore the aim of the present study to investigate the rhetorical structure of
research articles as a whole, from the abstract through to the conclusion of the article. The data comes
from a corpus of 40 published articles in applied linguistics and educational technology. The findings
show some interesting differences in the structure of different sections and also differences between the
two disciplines. Such knowledge of the structure of research articles will empower international
students and help them integrate better into the academic world.

Keywords:  rhetorical structure, research articles, academic writing, international students

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