A Comparative Study of Abstracts Written by Male and Female Native vs. Nonnative Researchers: Length and Organization in Focus

Fahimeh Talakoob, Sajad Shafiee


The present research was conducted in order to investigate if there was any significant difference between abstracts written by native (N) English speakers and abstracts written by Iranian nonnative (NN) speakers of English based on Swales' (1990) IMRC model. Investigating the possible differences between abstracts written by male vs. female N and NN speakers of English was a further aim in the present study. To achieve these objectives, a total of 140 research papers were randomly selected from the journals published in the field of English Language Teaching in 2014 and 2015. The papers were divided into two categories: 70 papers written by Iranian authors as NN English writers and 70 papers written by N English writers. The four-move theory of IMRC developed by Swales (1990) was used to examine the abstracts. The findings showed that in terms of number of words, the male N authors wrote wordier abstracts compared with male NN authors. On the contrary, the number of words used by NN female authors were more than the number of words used by female N authors.  In addition, the number of words used by female authors in both N and NN corpora were more than that used by male N and NN authors. Statistically speaking, the results of Chi-square tests showed that there were significant differences between the number of words used by N and NN male authors on the one hand, and N and NN female authors on the other. Finally, the results of the move analysis of the corpus under study, using Swales' (1990) model, revealed that this model was followed only in fourteen NN abstracts and 16 N abstracts.


Swales’ IMRC model, abstract, native/nonnative authors, move analysis, length, organization, gender

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