Rhetorical structure in Problem Statement Section of Foreign Languages Undergraduate students’ Monographs

Wilmar Salazar Obeso


The Problem Statement (PS) section communicates the issue that targets a study. Having a clear understanding of its rhetorical moves facilitates its communication. However, undergraduate students are not generally worried about this important writing aspect. The purpose of this descriptive study intended to explore the rhetorical moves in Colombian FL undergraduate monographs. 20 samples of PS written in English by Foreign Languages (FL) Undergraduate students were analyzed following Swales’ (1990) Create-a-research-space (CARS) model. Findings revealed that the lack of knowledge about rhetorical aspects on the part of the students affects negatively the writing of the PS. The analysis also showed that some students did not communicate the problem due to an unbalanced frequency of moves and steps. Students’ awareness of the genre, its formal instruction, and frequent training might contribute to improve their academic writing.


Genre Analysis, Rhetorical Structure, Problem Statement, Swales CARS Model, Monographs, FL Undergraduate Students

Full Text:



Bhatia, V. (1996). Methodological issues in genre analysis. Hermes. Journal of linguistics, 16(39-59).

Brett, P. (2004). A genre-analysis of the results section of sociology articles. English for Specific Purposes. 13, 1-59.

Buendia, L., Colás, B., and Hernández, F. (1998). Métodos de investigación en psicopedagogía. Madrid: McGraw-Hill.

Creswell, J. (2014). Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods. 4th edition. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Christie, F., & Martin, J. R. (Eds.). (1997). Genre in institutions: Social processes in the workplace and school. New York: Continuum.

Devitt, A. J. (2004). Writing genres. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Gomez et al. (2014). Cómo hacer tesis de maestría y doctorados: Investigación, escritura y publicaciones. Bogotá: Eco Ediciones.

Hernon & Metoyer-Duran, C. (1993). What is a problem statement? Library & Information Science Research, 29, 307-307.

Ibrahim, N., and Nambiar, R. (2011). What is the problem with the statement of problem? the case of postgraduate international students and the introductory sections of a project paper. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences. 1713-1717.

Metoyer-Duran, C., & Hernon, P. (1994). Problem statements: An exploratory study of their function, significance, and form. Library & Information Science Research, 15, 71-92.

Hopkins, A & Dudley-Evans, T. (1988). A genre-based investigation of the discussion sections in articles and dissertations. English for Specific Purposes, 7(113-22).

Hyland, K. (2003). Second Language Writing. New York. Cambridge University Press.

Hyland, K. (2008). Genre and academic writing in the disciplines. Language Teaching, 41(04), pp 543-562.

Jalilifar, A., Firuzmand, S., & Roshani, S. (2011). Genre analysis of problem statement sections of MA proposals and theses in Applied Linguistics. Language, Society and Culture, (33), 85–93. Retrieved from http://scholar.google.com/scholar

Johns, A. M. (2008). Genre awareness for the novice academic student: an ongoing quest. Language Teaching, 41(2): 237-252.

Mahjoobeh, Sh. (2015). Analysis of verb tenses and voice of research articles abstracts in Engineering journals. International letters of social and humanistic sciences, 47, P. 139-152.

Martin, P., and Leon, I. (2009). Promotional strategies in research articles introductions: an interlinguistic and cross-cultural genre analysis. Revista Canaria de Estudios en Ingleses, 50. 73-83.

Millar, D. (2011). Promoting genre awareness in the EFL students. English teaching forum. No. 2.

Monje, A. C. (2011). Como presentar la monografía de grado o el informe de investigación. Universidad Surcolombiana.

Nimehchisalem, V., Tarvirdizadeh, Z., Paidary, S.S., & Hussin, N.I. (2016). Rhetorical Moves in Problem Statement Section of Iranian EFL Postgraduate Students' Theses.

Parsa, s., and Hasam, M. (2017). Move Structures in “Statement-of-the-Problem” Sections of M.A. Theses: The Case of Native and Nonnative Speakers of English. Iranian Journal of Applied Linguistics (IJAL), 20(2), September, 195-228.

Oliveira, F. (2017). A organização retórica da seção de considerações finais do gênero monografia em comunidades disciplinares distintas. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/544

Rozimela, Y. (2014). The students’ genre awareness and their reading comprehension of different text types. International Journal of Asian and Social Science, 4, 460-469.

Salayer-Meyer, F. (1990). Discoursal flaws in medical English abstracts: a genre analysis per research and text type, 10, 365-384.

Samraj, B. (2002). Introductions in research articles: variation across disciplines. English for Specific Purpose. 21: 1-17.

Swales, J. (1981). Aspects of article introductions. Birmingham, England: Universidad de Aston.

Swales, J. (1990): Genre Analysis - English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.10n.6p.89


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2010-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.