What is in the paragraphs of various sections of research articles?

Discourse and Interaction


This paper strives to uncover the leading paragraph build-up patterns in academic writing. It employs the framework pioneered by Mathesius (1942/1982) and Daneš (1994, 1995), and elaborated on by Pípalová (2005, 2008a, 2008b, 2014). The corpus assembled for the study involves three distinct sections of Research Articles, viz. Abstracts, Introductions and Conclusions. The research confirms the general prevalence of Broad P-theme paragraphs, especially the Content Frame categories. It also demonstrates that non-canonical (i.e. transitional and peripheral) forms of paragraph build-up tend to prevail and identifies a number of factors at play. The paper also shows that the distribution of paragraph patterns is not homogeneous and appears to change across the space of the Research Articles.

research articles; subgenres; thematic build-up of paragraphs; Narrow P-theme paragraphs; Broad P-theme paragraphs; non-canonical paragraphs
Author biography

Renata Pípalová

Charles University

Renata Pípalová is Assistant Professor of English Linguistics at Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. Her main research interests include Text Linguistics, Stylistics and Discourse Analysis, with a particular focus on Functional Sentence Perspective (Information Structure) and diverse aspects of written academic discourse, which will be addressed in her forthcoming monograph Investigating Aspects of Academic Discourse. She co-edits the Prague Journal of English Studies.

Address: Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Education, Charles University, Celetná 13, Prague 110 00, Czech Republic. [email: renata.pipalova@pedf.cuni.cz]


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