To be or, not to be, self-critical? Writing discussion and/or closing sections in English and Spanish social science research articles
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Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade and the Serbian Association for the Study of English (SASE)
Research article Discussion and/or Closing (DC) sections represent the last opportunity to convince readers of the validity of the researchers’ own study, specifically its conceptual value and methodological soundness. However, writing these sections for publication in English-medium journals is especially challenging for authors for whom English is not a first language, especially so for Spanish social scientists. In this paper, I hypothesise that one reason for the difficulties felt by these authors is that the conventions for being self-critical, such as in stating the limitations of the study, in these sections for publication in Spanish-medium journals edited in Spain differ from those followed in comparable sections published in English-medium journals. Using move-step analysis methodology, this study compared the self-critical segments in ten pairs of comparable social science DC sections from the Exemplary Empirical Research Articles in English and Spanish (EXEMPRAES) Corpus. The study found that researchers in English were more critical about the quality, both positive and negative, of their own study. In contrast, researchers writing in Spanish were more inclined to focus on its contributions. These differences were explored further through email interviews amongst a subsample of authors. Implications for intercultural rhetoric and English for research publication purposes are discussed. "The key points of this study can be heard in a conference presentation in multimedia (video) format, which is available at [http://hdl.handle.net/10612/15054]."
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