Establishing a research territory in economics: Implications for academic writing instruction

Research Article

Establishing a research territory in economics: Implications for academic writing instruction

DOI: 10.2989/16073614.2022.2136224
Author(s): May Siaw-Mei Liu Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia , Jason Miin-Hwa Lim UCSI University, Malaysia


Doing a literature review to establish a research territory constitutes an important task that both experienced and novice writers have to grapple with in research writing. While previous studies have focused on how research gaps are indicated, few studies have exclusively investigated the language resources needed to establish a territory, especially in economics. Using a genre-based textual analysis and inputs from specialist informants, we identified the key rhetorical strategies and language resources used by expert writers to review previous research in high impact publications. The results revealed that this overarching move focuses not only on centrality claims aimed at explicitly captivating the interest of the academic fraternity and real-world stakeholders, but also on previously published information signalling the breadth of knowledge acquired by writers. While specific ‘noun-prepositional phrase’ structures are used to indicate circumstantial exigencies, attributive adjectives depicting enormity are employed to signal growing scholarly engagement in a selected research domain. To furnish background information on previous research methods and findings, writers employ present-tense reporting verbs and gravity-enhancing expressions to delineate present alarming situations, thus demonstrating their readiness to stay current in economic situations. Our findings have pedagogical implications for designing instructional materials in economics and social sciences at large.

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