Exploring intrasectional variations of lexical bundles in medical research articles

Research Article

Exploring intrasectional variations of lexical bundles in medical research articles

DOI: 10.2989/16073614.2023.2243311
Author(s): Chen Liu Wuhan Institute of Technology, School of Foreign Languages, China , Fan Pan Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China

Abstract

This study employed a corpus-driven approach to examine the structures and functions of lexical bundles across the IMRD sections (i.e. Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion) in a medical research article corpus totalling 4.8 million words. Results showed considerable intra-sectional variations of bundle structures and functions. Structurally, the Introduction and the Discussion were dominated by phrasal bundles (tokens), while the Methods section and the Results sections preferred clausal bundles (types). For structural subcategories, the Introduction showed apparent preference for bundles with ‘to-clause fragments’, the Methods section made heavy use of bundles with ‘passive verb phrases’, and the Discussion displayed a high usage of bundles with ‘(verb phrase) + that-clause fragments;. Functionally, the Introduction, Results and Discussion were dominated by text-oriented bundles, while the Methods section was dominated by research-oriented bundles (types and tokens). For functional subcategories, the Introduction, Results and Discussion included a considerable use of resultative bundles, while the Methods section exhibited a dense use of procedure bundles. Our results also revealed a close relationship between bundle structures and functions and the communicative functions of sections. Our study may have valuable pedagogical implications for medical academic writing.

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