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Жанр проекта научного исследования (research proposal): корпусное исследование текстов начинающих авторов

The paper attempts to apply Create a Research Space (CARS) model (Swales, 1990) as a tool of genre analysis to explore one of the least studied genres ‘research proposal’ in English in two academic fields (management and economics). The study focuses on the structure of introductions to research proposals written by bachelor students in English, which is their first foreign language.

The study aims to respond to the following questions:

1. Is it possible to apply CARS methodology suggested to explore the genre of an empirical research article to the genre analysis of research proposals based on an introduction?

2. In what way are introductions to research proposals, written in English by Russian-speaking students in two neighboring sciences, economics and management, are similar and different?

The rhetorical structure of an introduction as part of a research proposal in management and economics is a poorly studied area. The both disciplines under investigation are social sciences and therefore should have similar characteristics. The aim of this research is to compare and contrast data on the frequency of rhetorical moves within each discipline and between them to then compare and contrast the obtained results with the CARS concept. 

The CARS model was chosen as a research instrument as the most elaborated and reflected in scientific literature tool to study EAP (English for academic purposes) texts.

For research purposes, the corpus of research proposals’ introductions has been built. The CARS model was applied to work with the corpus within two stages: a) text analysis to reveal the main patterns of moves and steps and their differences and similarities across the two disciplines, b) linguistic signals’ analysis within the structure of each move (the use of tenses, verb forms, lexical items, etc.).

All the texts within our corpus (20 texts in economics and 20 texts in management) were written by students of one university (National Research University Higher School of Economics) in accordance with the institutional requirements. The structure of the research proposals within the corpus was the basic one for the genre and the requirements of the institution and comprised the following sections: 1) background to the study, (2) rationale for the study, (3) objective of the study, (4) research questions, (5) theoretical framework, (6) methodology, (7) expected results, and (8) research implications.

The results show that the moves and steps in students’ papers in the two disciplines vary in structure. There are significant similarities and differences between the disciplines. The study demonstrates that CARS model is applicable to investigate various characteristic features of research papers in different academic fields including research proposals in economics and management. However, the model was found to have some limitations for genre analysis if a text has an unconventional moves’ structure, which might be typical for non- English speaking novice authors.