Implicit actions and explicit outcomes: cultural-academic interactions in writing journal research articles.

Year: 1999

Author: Blicblau, A S., Prince, A, Sosetyao, B

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Students undertaking research degrees, particularly PhD degrees, are expected to write and publish refereed journal articles. Students from non English-speaking backgrounds and cultures (NESBC) can find this process particularly difficult. Students become familiar with the genre of the research article through reading the journals. However, as novice research writers, they need mentoring through the process of writing a journal article in their specialised area by supervisors who are familiar with the rhetorical conventions of the genre in the particular field. Experienced supervisors, who have published, have an intuitive grasp of the structure of the research article, and are able to suggest restructure of unsuccessful drafts. The process by which the supervisor's implicit knowledge is made explicit, i.e., how an academic supervisor analyses and revises the structure of a student's draft article, has not been studied. Second language research, most notably Swales, has analysed the explicit product of this implicit understanding, i.e. published articles. A think-aloud protocol was used to record the supervisor's revision of an NESBC student's draft journal article. The revised paper was analysed to see whether Swales' 'moves' were present and the recorded text was analysed to see how and why the supervisor rearranged the draft. This paper is a collaboration between an engineer and an applied linguist. It describes the process of re-organisation process of a professional journal article which an NESBC postgraduate student and his supervisor went through to arrive at format suitable for publication.