Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Swales moves

In your reading for Wednesday, you learned about "Swales moves." As Janet Wiles described, there are four "moves" that Swales identified as occurring commonly in introductions to scientific papers (theses, dissertations, journal articles, etc.). Wiles includes only a short section on these "moves" as they appear in introductions, but this short section should provide you with some necessary clues about the commonplace or standard features of scientific introductions. For your next assignment, the article review, I ask you to choose an article relevant to your major research topic. You will be writing a longer memorandum about this article, but for the purposes of this blog posting, I want you to only focus on the introduction of that article. Does the writer move through the structural stages that Swales identified as customary (the "moves")? How so or how not? What is missing? Or, if the writer uses these moves precisely, what do you see as the benefit to the author's "movement" through these stages?


  1. Hi
    I am reviewing the paper “Infrasonic tremor in the diffraction zone” written by David Fee and Milton Garces and issued at the Geophysical Research Letters, Vol 34. This paper shows a clear Swales’ structure. It effectively goes from a broad perspective, which introduces the research, to a focused section that states the purpose of the research. I looked at other papers of the same author and he always uses the same structure. I looked at other authors writing about the same research and I think the way this introduction is written shows a pattern in the field. This introduction is 2 paragraphs long and it gets into the point right away and lets the story flow

  2. the paper which i reviewed "Quantification of Social Cost Associated with Construction Projects: State-of- Art Review”, Tunneling and Underground Space Technology 20 (2005) 89-104.
    for my thesis i reviewed more than 75 papers, and from my point of view this is the best paper that I've seen so far, not because of technical weight. the main fascinating part is the structure of the paper. before this class i didn't know anything about swales structure for writing thesis, dissertation or article.
    The way the paper was organized is so skillful that even a person out of the field will be attracted ( you can try, it worths). the way the paper was written is in a way that grab your hand, make you ready for the journey and then shows the flaws of the current system and logically introduce some techniques and strategies for those flaws. that's awesome.

  3. In the second assignment, I have selected the following article to assess the author’s strategies and his presentation quality:

    Bethke, C. M. and Xiang Zhao, Groundwater flow and 4He distribution in the Great Artesian Basin of Australia, Journal of Geophysical Research, 104(B6), pp. 12,999-13,011 (1999)

    My critique for the author’s presentation style and his strategies is divided into four parts based on the four Swales moves.

    As per the Swales move 1- importance of the research field and what is already known about the subject, the author has done a good job for the former and an average job for the latter. First, he has briefly explained the importance of his research subject by stating that a deeper understanding of his research subject will help in locating new groundwater and petroleum resources. It is well known that our world needs a lot of these resources to fill the ever-increasing gap between demand and supply of the derived products from these resources. Second, the author has described what is already known about his research subject by first dividing his research subject into various subcategories and then mentioning what is already known about each subcategory in terms of references. While referring to a published report or an article is very important for any potential scientific publication, only referring to them but not summarizing their findings is not. It would be a lot better if he succinctly describes findings from the mentioned references for each subcategory rather than just provider his readers a lot of references.

    As per the Swales move 2- literature review, author has done a good job. He has reviewed from very old to very new articles on his research subject. His literature review has provided me an impression that he has seriously tried to find out what is already known about his research subject based on the work done in other fields and in different set of circumstances. This attempt is very important, because it helps an author not repeat the same mistakes or reinvent the wheel which other scientific groups or individuals have made or invented during or through their investigations.

    As per the Swales move 3- understanding gaps and raising questions, author has done an excellent job. He has critiqued two prevalent hypotheses on the subject by pointing out pros and cons of each hypothesis when applied to his research field (Great Artesian basin). He pointed out loopholes of each hypothesis by raising questions with pertinent references. I liked it.

    As per the Swales move 4- state purpose and outline research, the author has done an average job. He has outlined his research first and then stated his purpose. I feel that it is very important to state purpose first and then outline your research. My reason is, if someone states his final goal first and then explains a way or ways to achieve it; it is very likely that his readers will reach a desired destination rather than wandering in an unknown territory.

  4. The title of journal is " Effect of Moisture on the Strength of Clean Sand" from Soil and Foundation Division: Proceedings of the America Society of Civil Engineers written by kenneth et al.

    Swales moves 1 and 2 were well established in the first paragraph. The topic sentence of paragraph 1 is well explained with supporting sentences and reasons.

    In paragraph 2, Swales move 3 was well explained, gap was given by defining the limits of the research. Incredibly, the ending part of paragraph 2 used Swales move 4 concisely and clearly to state the purpose and the outline of the present paper.

    I will say the authors followed strictly to Swales moves in writing of the introduction of this article.

  5. I review the paper called "Evaluation of MODIS LAI, fAPAR and the relation between fAPAR and NDVI in semi-arid environment using in situ measurements". This was published in the journal "Remote sensing of the environment" 91 in 2004, by Fensholt et al.

  6. the introduction of the paper follows a really organized Swales structure, describing initially some concepts about the study objects (LAI and fAPAR) and continuing with the explanation of related models created by findings of previous research at diferent levels of compexity of the models, beggining from easy and moving towards complex models. This long but organized explanation permits to the reader to move in a fluent way towards the motivation of the study: the validation of the products. From there, the authors move to the explanation of study and the aims and motivation questions of the research. The authors just give a short and general outline of the reseach, which is mainly explained in relation with the stated question of the research. It is really surprising how the swales structure allows the reader to move through the paper introduction in a fluent and efficient way. In doing this, the authors avoid a dense and messy introduction of the research. It is straightforward to follow the ideas in the Introduction by pursuing the structure propose in Wiles paper.

  7. I read “Giant versus small porphyry copper deposits of Cenozoic age in northern Chile: adakitic versus normal calc-alkaline magmatism” authored by Roberto Oyarzun, Alvaro Marqueza, Javier Lillo, Ivan Lopez, and Sergio Rivera. Oyarzun et al. article was published in volume 36, pages 794-798 of Mineralium Deposita (2001). The authors writing clearly established Swales moves 1 and 2 in the first half of the introduction. Swales move 3 was missing a step. The authors clearly identified the missing piece in the research. However, they never clearly raise or state the question that should be answered based on this gap. For Swales move 4, it was also partially done. The authors do state the purpose of the research. Though it is never clearly outlined since the research used in the paper was not theirs. Instead this article is a review and collection of the Oyarzun et al. interpretation of other scientists research. Even though there are areas of Swales moves that are lacking, the authors are still able to execute the remaining Swales effectively and write a decently structured introduction.

  8. In my review of "An upper stratospheric layer of enhanced HNO3 following exceptional solar storms" by Orsolini et al. (2005), I found that the authors do indeed use swales in a fashion. They start by presenting why nitric acid is important in the broad sense followed by the problem that will be addressed and how they plan to tackle this problem. I really liked this form because it made me feel that I understood the what was going on without being painful in the explaination.

  9. The paper that I reviewed titled: "Effect of depth-dependent shear modulus on tsunami generation along subduction zones" does a very good job in following the Swales moves, thus classifying the paper as a "good" paper. The introduction concisely summarizes the previous studies and literature reviews, therefore providing the reader with the necessary background for understanding the problem in discussion; this made their transition to posing the problem smooth and clear. In addition to having a good introduction for scientific background, they also outline their method and required background in an informative fashion. The authors also acknowledged the importance and relevance of their work in relation to the existing scientific knowledge. Therefore, in my opinion this paper is not only a good example of implementing the Swales moves but also a good example for establishing their scientific "ethos".

  10. I guess this was one of the best response paper given to us. I was always wondering if there was a format in which I could write my paper better and here it is. The paper I reviewed was on ensemble based lung cancer detection. It was kind of close to the swales move as they started off very clear but then the authour moved on very quickly discussing experimental results. This paper though did not follow the swales moves was pretty good because of the experimental results. Some papers get so lucky. When I first read this paper I never thought of the style in which it was written so didnt find anything wrong. When I started thinking of its structure comparing it with swales then I realized it was not well structured.

    In my experience, I have written 4 papers and most of the time followed a similar approach. One of my papers was accepted for a journal and I was confused how to write. I downloaded a lot of materials from online to know more about journal writing. Most of it confused me finally. It was like me trying to jigsaw puzzles from 5 different boards as one. It was so messey. I actually passed swales paper to my team mates and my prof was impressed. Its good and one of the most useful papers that I would treasure.