HOW DO I WRITE THE DISCUSSION SECTION?

“. . . .

I’m indebted to my colleague Josta Heylingers for pointing me at the literature on functional linguistics. Josta uses this literature to teach people how to write discussion chapters at Auckland University of Technology. To do this, she uses the work of John Swales, and his method of ‘move step analysis’. I touched on this method in my own PhD, and of my PhD students is using move step analysis in her work, so I’ve had to become passingly familiar with the method.

Swales starts by assuming that texts are social things: every reader has been ‘trained’ on what to expect from different kinds of texts. Job applications ‘sound’ different from grant applications, which sound different than a journal article. So readers are familiar with the linguistic ‘moves’ to expect. These linguistic moves are sort of like dance steps that build together to make a socially recognisable text.

Swales’ move step analysis is a way of breaking down the text dance so you can understand which bits go where and how to put them together in an accomplished performance. Think of any dance craze you can name. When I was a teenager, in the 1980s (!) it was ‘The Nutbush‘; by the 1990s it was The Macarena. In case you weren’t there, or don’t remember, here’s a helpful video. It’s worth watching, because it’s delightful, and a good way to understand what move step analysis is:

I’m indebted to my colleague Josta Heylingers for pointing me at the literature on functional linguistics. Josta uses this literature to teach people how to write discussion chapters at Auckland University of Technology. To do this, she uses the work of John Swales, and his method of ‘move step analysis’. I touched on this method in my own PhD, and of my PhD students is using move step analysis in her work, so I’ve had to become passingly familiar with the method.

Swales starts by assuming that texts are social things: every reader has been ‘trained’ on what to expect from different kinds of texts. Job applications ‘sound’ different from grant applications, which sound different than a journal article. So readers are familiar with the linguistic ‘moves’ to expect. These linguistic moves are sort of like dance steps that build together to make a socially recognisable text.

Swales’ move step analysis is a way of breaking down the text dance so you can understand which bits go where and how to put them together in an accomplished performance. Think of any dance craze you can name. When I was a teenager, in the 1980s (!) it was ‘The Nutbush‘; by the 1990s it was The Macarena. In case you weren’t there, or don’t remember, here’s a helpful video. It’s worth watching, because it’s delightful, and a good way to understand what move step analysis is:

I’m indebted to my colleague Josta Heylingers for pointing me at the literature on functional linguistics. Josta uses this literature to teach people how to write discussion chapters at Auckland University of Technology. To do this, she uses the work of John Swales, and his method of ‘move step analysis’. I touched on this method in my own PhD, and of my PhD students is using move step analysis in her work, so I’ve had to become passingly familiar with the method.

Swales starts by assuming that texts are social things: every reader has been ‘trained’ on what to expect from different kinds of texts. Job applications ‘sound’ different from grant applications, which sound different than a journal article. So readers are familiar with the linguistic ‘moves’ to expect. These linguistic moves are sort of like dance steps that build together to make a socially recognisable text.

Swales’ move step analysis is a way of breaking down the text dance so you can understand which bits go where and how to put them together in an accomplished performance. Think of any dance craze you can name. When I was a teenager, in the 1980s (!) it was ‘The Nutbush‘; by the 1990s it was The Macarena. In case you weren’t there, or don’t remember, here’s a helpful video. It’s worth watching, because it’s delightful, and a good way to understand what move step analysis is:

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