An exploration of rhetorical structure and interactional metadiscourse in architecture research articles (EdD TESOL)

  • Ping-Nan Chang

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education


    This dissertation contributes to existing knowledge concerning academic writing in the field of architecture, a discipline little investigated by applied linguists. The aim will be to provide inferences to assist in the teaching of English for specific purposes (ESP). Based on Swales’s (1990) concept of the rhetorical move and Hyland’s (2005a) model of interactional metadiscourse, the research provides a textual analysis of 14 research papers from The Journal of Architecture, which were published in 2010 and 2011. Key findings from the move analysis include the prevalence of nonepistemic introductions, the lack of distinctive Method, Results and Discussion sections, and the saliency of rhetorical moves to contextualise, describe and evaluate an architectural case, and a possible classification of papers according to move frequency in each text. The metadiscourse analysis demonstrates the prominence of engagement markers (despite hedges being the most common category), and variations in metadiscourse features among the articles in terms of frequency of occurrence. The textual phenomena observed in this study also differentiate between the sample articles and empirical research articles. To complement the textual analysis, two architecture lecturers completed an open-ended questionnaire concerning the disciplinarity of architecture. Based on the findings, it is suggested that genre analysis be transformed into a teaching method to familiarise students with linguistic uses and conventions and raise their awareness about the complexity of the world in which a genre is situated. The possible relationship between language and discipline, as manifested in this research, further implies a potential to incorporate ESP elements into English language teaching in higher education.
    Date of AwardDec 2015
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Queen's University Belfast
    SupervisorAisling O'Boyle (Supervisor)

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