A Genre Analysis Study of Algerian Magister Dissertations in Linguistics and Didactics: The Case of English Department of the University of Algiers
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The investigation of generic discourse in academic writing is gaining a sweeping interest among genre analysts. However, research into post-graduate writing as a genre is still in its infancy. This study is an attempt to analyse the genre of Magister dissertations produced by Algerian post-graduates in Linguistics and Didactics at the University of Algiers. The analysis is meant to investigate the schematic structures of three part-genres: Introductions, Abstracts and Acknowledgements and compare them to what was reported in similar genre studies. To reach this aim, I employed, as starting theoretical frameworks, Samraj’s (2008) 3-move CARS model developed for Master’s theses introductions, Samraj’s (2002) move structure of Abstracts and Hyland and Tse’s (2004) move pattern of Acknowledgments. It was found that the introductions do not share a common rhetorical structure and only half the texts supported Samraj (2008) framework. Furthermore, Move 2 and 3 were more commonly found than move 1 and new steps were identified in the first and the third move. The corpus of abstracts displayed a rhetorical structure similar to that proposed by Samraj (2002) although an additional move was identified. The acknowledgments’ move pattern, in turn, was quite different from Hyland and Tse’s model (2004). In fact, almost all the acknowledgements were framed around a unique thanking move instead of three moves. Overall, some shared shaping forces are behind the students’ rhetorical practices such as: the discourse community in which the genre occurs, the nature of the DIs’ discipline and lack of formal instruction in dissertation writing. Therefore, post-graduate students of the English Department of Algiers need an explicit learning of the dissertation genre in order to raise their awareness of the genre characterising features and help them make informed writing choices.