This study investigates the rhetorical structure of abstracts of papers published in Applied Linguistics and Education. It examines how abstract authors in these two fields emphasise the significance of their research, and how they appeal to their prospective readership. Although abstracts in both disciplinary groups are found to display a coordinate textual development they exhibit a utilization of different relational schemata to indicate the functional prominence of textual propositions. In particular, different relational patterns are seen to be employed to fulfil the two primary objectives of an abstract: to provide a synopsis of the accompanying article, and to promote it to relevant research and professional communities. The way authors demonstrate the value of their research and their professional credibility appears to be conditioned by disciplinary writing conventions. It is proposed that relational choices, which result in differences in the accentuation of communicative messages in Applied Linguistics and Education abstracts, depend on the perceived relationship between the author and the discourse community in terms of expectations of prior knowledge.
Field of Research
200401 Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics