An Analysis of Textual Themes in M.A Theses and Ph. D. Dissertations


The present study investigates the realization and significance of textual themes in the organizational structure of M.A theses and Ph.D. dissertations, namely: the abstracts, introductions and conclusions, since in such parts the students depend on their own expressions, styles and constructions to express different viewpoints, plans, inferences, etc. The study also investigates the similarities and differences between M.A theses and Ph.D. dissertations concerning the use of textual themes;it sets out to conduct a detailed analysis of textual themes used in such texts. In conducting such an analysis, the study adopts Halliday's (1994) approach of textual themes. The results of such an analysis have clearly shown that, in spite of the differences in the scientific levels of M.A theses and Ph.D. dissertations, they are almost similar in their use of textual themes. Moreover, there is a higher tendency to use conjunctive adjuncts and conjunctions than to use relatives due to the formers’ importance in expressing logical links between the contents of the text; and thereby helping the reader to understand the text. Semantically speaking, there is a significant similarity between the two types of texts in using the category of enhancement more than the other semantic categories of adjuncts and conjunctions.