“THE OVERALL AIM OF THIS WORK IS ….” FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS OF GRAMMATICAL SUBJECT IN RESEARCH ARTICLE INTRODUCTIONS ACROSS FOUR DISCIPLINES

Seyed Foad Ebrahimi

Abstract

This study investigates the types and discourse functions of grammatical subjects in
research article introductions across four disciplines, namely: Applied Linguistics and
Psychology, representing soft sciences, and Chemistry and Environmental Engineering,
representing hard sciences. This study was carried out on a corpus of 40 research article
introductions (10 from each discipline). The research article introductions were sourced
from twelve ISI journals published from 2008 to 2012. The corpus was analysed based
on the modified model in relation to grammatical subject types and discourse functions
suggested by Ebrahimi (2014). The results revealed that the grammatical subject type
selections were guided by the nature of the research article introduction. However, the
frequency of use of the grammatical subject types was constrained by the nature of
the discipline. Discourse functions of grammatical subject types were predominantly
determined by the divisions of the hard and soft sciences, and the specific disciplines
within and the internal structure of the research article introductions. In addition, the
results of this study manifest a new framework for the analysis of discourse functions of
grammatical subject types in research article introductions.

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