The discussion section forms an integral part in the writing process of a research article (RA). It is a pivotal section where proposition of findings and rebuttal of claims conflate. For such writing to be credible and be accepted by the discourse community, it is important for writers to structure their arguments along the accepted communicative moves. To date, a plethora of studies on rhetorical moves in research articles abounds but most research focuses on only moves which are at the macro level. Therefore, this paper seeks to examine not only the rhetorical moves but also the relevant steps within a move. The study also examined the linguistic realizations that identify each move and step. To realize the objectives, a qualitative analysis of 16 discussion sections of RAs in medical sciences and applied linguistics disciplines were conducted. A model of 8 moves was used as an initial framework for move analysis. The findings demonstrate the manifestation of three steps in move 1 and another three in Move 5. In addition, two moves namely Implications and Summary of Results were also found in the analysis. Regarding the disciplinary differences, move 2 (Finding) and move 5 (Explanation) were found to be obligatory in AL discipline while Move 7 (Concluding information) was the only obligatory move in MS discipline. Based on the findings, a more holistic model on moves and steps was drawn along with a list of linguistics cues pertinent in each move and step.


Research articles, discussion section, communicative moves, linguistics cues, disciplinary variation

Full Text:



Amirian, Z., Kassaian, Z., & Tavakoli, M. (2008). Genre analysis: An investigation of the discussion sections of applied linguistics research articles. The Asian ESP Journal, 4(1), 39-63.

Amnuai, W. (2017). The textual organization of the discussion sections of accounting research articles. Kasetsart Journal of Social Sciences.

Basturkmen, H. (2012). A genre-based investigation of discussion sections of research articles in dentistry and disciplinary variation. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 11(2), 134-144.

Crookes, G. (1986). Towards a validated analysis of scientific text structure. Applied linguistics, 7, 57.

Dudley-Evans, T. (1994). Genre analysis: An approach to text analysis for ESP. Advances in written text analysis, 219, 228.

Dujsik, D. (2013). A Genre Analysis of Research Article Discussions in Applied Linguistics.

Flowerdew, J., & Wan, A. (2010). The linguistic and the contextual in applied genre analysis: The case of the company audit report. English for specific purposes, 29(2), 78-93.

Holmes, R. (1997). Genre analysis, and the social sciences: An investigation of the structure of research article discussion sections in three disciplines. English for specific purposes, 16(4), 321-337.

Huang, D. (2014). Genre Analysis of Moves in Medical Research Articles. Stylus, 5(1), 7-17.

Jaroongkhongdach, W., Todd, R. W., Keyuravong, S., & Hall, D. (2012). Differences in quality between Thai and international research articles in ELT. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 11(3), 194-209.

Jin, B. (2018). Rhetorical Differences in Research Article Discussion Sections of High- and Low-Impact Articles in the Field of Chemical Engineering. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 61(1), 65–76.

Kanoksilapatham, B. (2005). Rhetorical structure of biochemistry research articles. English for specific purposes, 24(3), 269-292.

Liu, Y., & Buckingham, L. (2018). The schematic structure of discussion sections in applied linguistics and the distribution of metadiscourse markers. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 34, 97–109.

Miles, M. B., Huberman, A. M., & Saldana, J. (2013). Qualitative data analysis: Sage.

Moyetta, D. (2016). The discussion section of English and Spanish research articles in psychology: A contrastive study. Esp Today–Journal of English for Specific Purposes at Tertiary Level, 4(1), 87–106.

Peacock, M. (2002). Communicative moves in the discussion section of research articles. System, 30(4), 479-497.

Rauhvargers, A. (2011). Global university rankings and their impact. Leadership for WorldClass Universities Challenges for Developing Countries(June).

Ruiying, Y., & Allison, D. (2003). Research articles in applied linguistics: Moving from results to conclusions. English for specific purposes, 22(4), 365-385.

Smith, D. E. A. (1984). Medical discourse: Aspects of author's comment. The ESP Journal, 3(1), 25-36.

Swales, J. (1990). Genre analysis: English in academic and research settings: Cambridge University Press.

Swales, J. M., & Feak, C. B. (1994). Academic writing for graduate students: Essential tasks and skills: A course for nonnative speakers of English (English for specific purposes). Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press.

Swales, J. M., & Feak, C. B. (2004). Academic writing for graduate students: Essential tasks and skills (Vol. 1): University of Michigan Press Ann Arbor, MI.

Tessuto, G. (2015). Generic structure and rhetorical moves in English-language empirical law research articles: Sites of interdisciplinary and interdiscursive cross-over. English for Specific Purposes, 37, 13–26.

Yang, W. (2013). Keyness in academic textbook blurbs: Lexical variations across discipline. Paper presented at the Proceedings of 2012 Language and Language Teaching Conference.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 Journal of Language and Communication (JLC)