The cognitive and rhetorical role of term variation and its contribution to knowledge construction in research articles

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Abstract

This study explored the behaviour and functions of term variation in research articles in order to better understand the process of knowledge construction within texts. A semantic analysis of term variation in 19 Spanish-language psychology research articles was carried out. Variants were classified according to the semantic distance from the base term. Analysis revealed that term variation provides information about the concept's content and its relationships with other concepts within the conceptual structure. Furthermore, an examination of the distribution of term variants across text sections revealed three rhetorical functions of term variation: a naming function, present in the title, abstract and keyword sections; an explanatory function, in the introduction and discussion sections; and a particularizing function, in the method and results sections. This analysis confirmed that intratextual term variation plays a cognitive and rhetorical function in research articles, helping to construct and transfer knowledge within the text and to realize the communicative purposes of the genre.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-79
Number of pages28
JournalTerminology
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • Academic discourse
  • Knowledge construction
  • Research articles
  • Rhetorical structure
  • Term variation

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