Move analysis of research articles across five engineering fields: What they share and what they do not

Sayako Maswana*, Toshiyuki Kanamaru, Akira Tajino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


While many genre researchers have examined the rhetorical structure of research articles in various disciplines, few have investigated the complete structure of articles for students in engineering, a discipline that includes a wide range of fields. Using Swales' move framework (1990), this paper analyzes the rhetorical structure of 67 engineering research articles from five subdisciplines: structural engineering, environmental engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, and computer science. Six engineering researchers participated in the study by coding texts of full-length papers into moves and steps. The study found that the abstract, introduction, and concluding sections and some of their moves were conventional across all subdisciplines. The finding of no common move patterns throughout the papers across the subdisciplines is explained by the differences in the nature of research in each field. There were, however, limited subdisciplinary similarities such as the use of Move 5, Step 2 observed in environmental, electrical, and chemical engineering. The study results provide practical pedagogical resources, a theoretical background to guide writing in an engineering school, and implications for collaboration with researchers in specialized fields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 16


  • Disciplinary variation
  • Engineering research articles
  • Move analysis
  • Rhetorical structure
  • Subdisciplines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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