An abstract summarizes the accompanying article in order to promote it. While many move-analysis studies of abstracts in applied linguistics (AL) have used similar coding frameworks and demonstrated similar rhetorical organizations, their findings have not yet been aggregated to show the overall picture. The present study aimed to both examine move structures in AL abstracts and compare the results with previous studies both synchronically and diachronically. Fifty abstracts were collected from articles published in the journal English for Specific Purposes
(ESP) between 2011 and 2013. Sentences were coded using a five-move scheme adapted from previous studies. Combining the results from previous research and the present study showed that most AL abstracts give information on the purpose, methodology, and findings of the associated article, while about half of the articles omit introduction of the topic and discussion of the findings. It was also found that authors frequently violate the move sequence expected by current schemes. These findings consistent with previous research suggest that future researchers informed by move analyses should explore the connection between the findings of move analyses and teaching materials for academic writing.
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