Exploring rhetorical moves in a digital academic genre: A cross-disciplinary study of the highlights section

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Akbaş E., Farnia M.

IBERICA, no.42, pp.85-114, 2022 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Journal Name: IBERICA
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, Communication & Mass Media Index, Educational research abstracts (ERA), Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Directory of Open Access Journals, DIALNET
  • Page Numbers: pp.85-114
  • Keywords: move analysis, digital academic genre, soft and hard sciences, highlights section, research articles, RESEARCH ARTICLES, INTRODUCTIONS, METADISCOURSE, ENGLISH
  • Erciyes University Affiliated: Yes


This cross-disciplinary paper explores the ways in which writers promote their research articles in the highlights section of journals available online as a digital academic genre. A corpus of highlights from 300 research articles was randomly selected from journals in two major domains of knowledge, hard sciences and soft sciences. The corpus contained texts from the fields of (1) Chemistry and (2) Computer Science representing hard sciences and from (3) Linguistics and (4) Management representing soft sciences published in reputable journals in 2018 and 2019. The corpus was analysed in terms of the promotional and rhetorical moves based on a model developed by the researchers using the uAM Corpus Tool. The results show that despite similarities in the use of rhetorical moves, for example, Promoting the results (Move 4) as the most frequently used move in both corpora, there were disciplinary variations in the highlights section. Whereas hard science majors give secondary importance to promoting the value (Move 2) of their research, soft science majors promoted the scene of the study (Move 1) in the highlights. Analyses of the cyclical patterns of the highlights reveal that whereas hard sciences researchers combined promoting the results with promoting the methodological issues (Move 3), soft sciences writers showcased their results as well as promoting background information (Move 1) related to their actual research.