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Five-part abstracts

Yakhontova (2002, as cited in Hyland 2004) identified a five-move structure in published abstracts in the field of linguistics. These characteristics may be applicable to other research areas.

The structure includes five moves and the rhetorical strategies for realizing the move.

Move 1: Outlining the research field 

  • Referring to established knowledge.
  • Referring to previous research.
  • Asserting the importance of the area.

Move 2: Justifying the research study 

  • Indicating a gap in the previous research. 
  • Making a counterclaim.
  • Raising a question about the previous research.

Move 3: Introducing the paper to be presented 

  • Stating the purpose of the paper (aims).
  • Stating the focus of the paper (content).

Move 4: Summarizing the paper 

  • Giving an overview of the whole paper.
  • Giving an overview of its parts in sequence. 

Move 5: Highlighting outcomes 

  • Reviewing the most important results of the study.
  • Stating the implications or applications of the results.