Amir Zand-Moghadam; hossein mihami
Abstract in every research paper has always been functioning as an attention-grabber which can encourage readers to keep reading the research or to dissuade it. Although abstracts are believed to play an important role in distributing the research findings, few studies have been done to evaluate the ...
Abstract in every research paper has always been functioning as an attention-grabber which can encourage readers to keep reading the research or to dissuade it. Although abstracts are believed to play an important role in distributing the research findings, few studies have been done to evaluate the rhetorical organization of thesis abstracts, especially in the field of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). Thus, the purpose of the present study was to analyze the rhetorical moves of the MA thesis abstracts written from 1988 to 2015 in the field of TEFL in Allameh Tabataba’i University (ATU), an Iranian university. To this end, 300 MA thesis abstracts were analyzed based on Hyland’s (2000) rhetorical move framework. To track the rhetorical move trends of the thesis abstracts and for the ease of analysis, they were analyzed in three time intervals. The results revealed that while in the first interval (1988-1997) the most frequent rhetorical moves were the “Purpose”, “Method”, and “Product”, in the other two intervals (1998-2007 and 2008-2015) the “Purpose” was the most used rhetorical move. In addition, the least frequent rhetorical moves were the “Introduction” and “Conclusion” for the three intervals. The findings, on top of these, indicated that the rhetorical move patterns of thesis abstracts moved from Purpose-Method-Product (P-M-Pr) to Introduction-Purpose-Method-Product-Conclusion (I-P-M-Pr-C). That said, it can be concluded that in the examined thesis abstracts, the highest average of information was provided on the “Purpose” of the study, while the other moves, especially the conclusion move, was not deemed important; moreover, an increasing rate of information provision was detected on the “Method” and “Product” moves. This research bears some implications for L2 learners to better know their community of practice and writing instructors to prepare genre-based writing materials.