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Further reading for general to specific

Reading recommendations on examples and explanations of G-S pattern

After discussing the IMRD structure of research articles, it is crucial to address a common pattern that writers across disciplines apply in their academic writing: the “general-to-specific” pattern. This pattern not only enhances the logical development of ideas but also facilitates comprehension and flow for readers. In this article, we will examine the general-to-specific pattern in detail and provide examples of its application in various contexts.

The General-to-Specific Pattern: An Overview

The general-to-specific pattern is characterized by starting with broad statements or concepts and gradually narrowing down to specific ideas or arguments. This pattern is particularly prevalent in the Introduction section of research articles, but it can also be observed in other sections and individual paragraphs or sentences. The general-to-specific pattern is preferred because it is easier to understand and more accessible to readers, allowing them to follow the logical flow of the text.

Here is a visualization of G-S pattern: link

Applications of the General-to-Specific Pattern

In the Introduction Section The general-to-specific pattern is often employed in the Introduction section of research articles. Authors typically begin with background information, which provides a common context that researchers in the field can understand and agree upon. Next, the authors present the motivation for their research by identifying a gap in the literature or a problem that remains unsolved. This motivates the study’s objectives, which address the identified gap or problem specifically. This flow – from the general context to the specific research objectives – exemplifies the general-to-specific pattern in the Introduction section.

Within Paragraphs The general-to-specific pattern can also be applied within individual paragraphs. Consider the following example adapted from Swales & Feak (1994):

“Writing is a complex process that requires several skills. The first skill is the ability to generate ideas, followed by the capacity to organize those ideas into a coherent structure. The third skill involves the mastery of language, including grammar, punctuation, and style. One important aspect of this last skill is the ability to convey complex concepts in a clear and concise manner.”

In this paragraph, the author begins with the general concept of the writing process and gradually narrows down to the specific skills required for effective writing. The paragraph concludes by focusing on one particular aspect of the last skill. This progression from general to specific creates a coherent and easily understandable flow within the paragraph.

In Sentences The general-to-specific pattern can even be applied within individual sentences. For example:

“Climate change, a global issue affecting ecosystems and human societies, has been particularly detrimental to polar ice caps, leading to rising sea levels and the endangerment of coastal communities.”

In this sentence, the author starts with the broad concept of climate change and narrows down to the specific issue of polar ice caps and the consequences for coastal communities.

Conclusion: The Value of the General-to-Specific Pattern in Research Writing

The general-to-specific pattern is a valuable tool for enhancing comprehension and flow in research writing. By following this pattern, authors can create a straightforward and easily understandable logical flow for readers. Whether applied to entire sections, paragraphs, or individual sentences, the general-to-specific pattern contributes to the clarity and coherence of academic writing. When crafting your research articles, consider employing the general-to-specific pattern to facilitate a smooth and accessible reading experience for your audience.

— Some questions for you: Can you identify G-S patterns in the Introduction section of your model article? Can you identify the G-S pattern in other section of your model article? Share your observations in the comments section below.

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Deconstructing Research Articles: How to Read and Write a Research Paper

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