MET workshops

The discussion section in academic research articles: patterns, practices and insights for editors and translators

This workshop will explore the discussion section in research papers, commonly regarded as one of the most vexing writing tasks for users of English as an additional language (EAL) due to its less formulaic and more dialogic nature. Participants will gain insight on how to respond to this oft-unmet need in language support by helping their clients structure texts in ways that resonate with international audiences. To do this, we will examine descriptive frameworks of the discussion developed within Swalesian genre studies, evaluating how this evidence-based research may be applied to wordface work.

Facilitator: Oliver Shaw

Purposes: 1) To help participants gain a practical knowledge of the concepts that underpin genre analysis, with particular emphasis placed on Swalesian rhetorical patterning. 2) To survey the major findings of some of the most influential descriptions of the rhetorical structures in discussion sections, and how the patterning evidenced in discussions may vary from one academic discipline to another. 3) To provide attendees with hands-on practical experience, offering example texts with which they may break texts down into their component parts and pinpoint problematic rhetorical structuring that may spark criticism during peer review.

Outcome: Participants will devise applicable strategies for editing and translating the work of EAL academics beyond the sentence and paragraph level. Exposure to published genre frameworks and application of these frameworks to texts published by both native-English-speaking authors and users of EAL will equip translators and editors with a more useful vocabulary with which to engage these clients. Reports of some of the rhetorical shortcomings that characterize EAL academic writing will feed into group-level discussions on where wordface professionals should intervene at the rhetorical level and how these changes can be proposed.

Who should attend? Editors and translators who work with EAL academics seeking to publish their work in international English-medium journals. The session will be tailored to accommodate participants with little to no knowledge of genre analysis while offering those with previous exposure to genre-analytic approaches opportunities to discuss their perspectives with colleagues.

About the facilitator: Oliver Shaw, PhD, works as in-house translator and editor at the Health Research Institute of the Fundación Jiménez Díaz and the healthcare-management firm Quirónsalud. He is based in Madrid, Spain.