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Joseph Benjamin Archibald Afful (PhD)

Department of English

University of Cape Coast

Cape Coast, Ghana  


Recent discourse analytical studies have highlighted the importance of rhetorical moves in student writing. In this paper, I explore the rhetoric of introductions of examination essays written by second-year English students in a Ghanaian university. Drawing on a modified version of Swales’ move analysis, I consider the generic structure and linguistic features of introductions. Analysis of the textual data pointed to three key findings. Firstly, the English Studies students do, in fact, introduce their essays, using a three-move rhetorical structure consisting of contextualizing, engaging closely with the examination prompt, and previewing the essay. Secondly, a two-sequence move pattern is preferred and Move 2 (engaging closely with prompt) occupies the greatest space for most students. The third finding relates to the use of personal pronouns, discourse verbs, and purpose expressions in the last move (previewing) of the introduction. These findings have important implications for both writing pedagogy and future research in the rhetoric of disciplinary writing at undergraduate level.

Key words: English Studies, genre, introduction, rhetoric, undergraduates,


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