Syntactic complexity across academic research article part-genres: A cross-disciplinary perspective

J. Elliott Casal, Xiaofei Lu, Xixin Qiu, Yuanheng Wang, Genggeng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This study examined eight measures of syntactic complexity across published research article part-genres (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion) and three social science disciplines (Applied Linguistics, Psychology, and Economics). The corpus of 240 complete texts was analyzed using a modified version of the Syntactic Complexity Analyzer (SCA), and the measures were compared across disciplinary and part-genre variables using a Two-way MANOVA and a series of follow up MANOVA and ANOVA tests. The findings highlight a significant large effect of both discipline and part-genre on all eight syntactic complexity indices, as well as a significant but small effect size for the interaction of move and discipline on the complexity measures. Important disciplinary and part-genre based differences in the use of syntactically complex structures are discussed, as are the implications of these findings on EAP writing research and pedagogy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100996
JournalJournal of English for Academic Purposes
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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