Individual or Community: Looking for Agency Construction in the Methods Sections of IMRaD Formatted Articles Through Basic Phrase Structure, S-NP1-VP-NP2.
Johnson, Frances Curcija
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This study investigates the construction of agency in the Methods section of experimental research articles using Chomsky’s sentence formula of NP1-VP-NP2. Originally, the transmission of research results was via letters between amateurs interested in the investigation of the natural world. The communication evolved through the centuries to the modern day research article that reflects the scientific principles of objectivity, replication, and falsification. The purpose of this study is to see if the genre of the IMRaD formatted article is continuing to evolve, allowing for the acknowledgement of the individual in the collective construction of knowledge as reflected in the rhetorical construction of agency within the Methods section. This study is a longitudinal examination of the Methods section of research articles tracking any increase in the use of person markers. The journals selected are ones published continuously since the 1950s and are in the disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics. Systemic random selection yielded a gross corpus of 720 articles; net corpus was 457. Results are presented both quantitatively and qualitatively after using QDA Miner© software suite to perform the content analysis.