The genre of research articles: The literature review section

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Photo Credit: Lost in Scotland via Compfight cc Photo Credit: Lost in Scotland via Compfightcc

This post continues the series I’ve done over the past year or so on writing research articles (RAs) based on John Swale’s Create-A-Research-Space (CARS) model. See my first post for an overview of RAs published in peer-reviewed journals. This time the focus is on the section of an RA social science researchers call the literature review (LR).  As I’ve written before, RAs in “harder” science journals normally incorporate their review of related literature in the introduction section. But “softer” science journals require more elaborate justification of their research focus so an additional section is the norm.

There’s relatively little empirical work on the rhetorical structure of LRs. I believe it’s because the CARS model has been applied primarily to RAs in the “harder” sciences. A 2012 study (see bottom of this post for details) is a notable exception because it involved…

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