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Publications 2019, 7(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications7010008
- To what extent can research article genre knowledge gains support students to report on their own research?
- Can research article genre awareness be transferred from one language to another?
2.1. The Course and the Participants
2.2. Data Collection
2.3. Description of the Implemented Genre Approach
- Planning learning: To establish the what and how of the course, we carried out a needs analysis, which made clear to us that the students’ had some experience with the language teaching genres, e.g., lesson plans and syllabus designs, but were lacking in their familiarity with the research genres, e.g., research articles. Secondly, we decided how we would involve the students in the analysis of the research article and in the design of their final project.
- Sequencing learning: To sequence the genres of study, we determined the most critical skills or functions relevant to the students’ immediate needs within the master’s program, and attempted to follow the order of the set of genres followed by researchers in Applied Linguistics for teaching second/foreign languages  (p. 156). Thus, we decided to focus on the research article genre using a top-down task-based approach. For the pre-task, the students were asked to look for a research article from an international Applied Linguistics journal in English and to analyze it. For this analysis, the students were instructed to read recommended course materials  and , and to have participated in an interactive lecture using a sample research article and an explanatory PowerPoint about the macrostructure and microstructures of research articles. The participants worked in pairs to deduce the macrostructure; for example, the typical introduction–methodology–results–discussion (IMRD) format, or other common formats such as those with a specific section for the literature review (ILMRD), or those that join results and discussion and add conclusions (IM[RD]C). In addition, we wanted them to become more aware of the possible moves (e.g., Swale’s CARS—create a research space—for the introduction section) found within each of the parts, and the microstructure or academic language used (i.e., verb tenses, passive voice, discourse markers, citations, hedging, etc.). Each student was then asked to analyze a research article (RA), written in English, of their choice and to hand in a copy of their discourse analysis based on the instructions and guiding questions found in Supplementary Materials. In the meantime, they were asked to prepare for the main task by forming groups of 3–5 students to design and do research on one of the topics of the module. Once they had completed the research, they were to write it up as a research article in Spanish, following through with the more commonly established Swalesian IMRD structure.
- Supporting learning: In line with Hyland  (p. 158), in this genre-based course, we gave “considerable recognition to the importance of collaboration or peer interaction, and scaffolding or teacher supported learning”. The collaborative work entailed interactive lectures, pair-work activities and group tasks, whereas the scaffolding involved aiding the students’ in their choice of RA, holding discussions on Swales & Feak’s course book  and Gallardo’s chapter , and providing explicit instruction and models of the macro and micro features of the genre.
- Assessing learning: For the assessment, we attempted to follow through with Hyland’s  (p. 163–166) basic principles of explicitness, being integrative and relevant, combining competencies and evaluating the students when they were prepared for it. From the start of the course, the students were informed that assessment would be based on our criteria for analyzing and producing effective academic research papers (Supplementary Materials). The same criteria were used for the research article analysis as for the final project, which was meant to have the same overall format.
2.4. The Survey
3.1. Survey Results
3.1.1. Prior Experience with Reading RAs
3.1.2. Usefulness of Course Resources and Activities
3.1.3. Relevance of the Research Article Analysis Task for the Design and Writing of the Group Project
3.1.4. Possible Transfer of the RA Genre Features from English to Spanish
We must take into account that English and Spanish use different syntactic structures, which we must have clear when writing this kind of texts. It is possible to transfer what is learned from one to the other as far as the overall structure is concerned, but not the language, because the lexicogrammatical aspects are different.
Conflicts of Interest
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