The Rhetorical Structure of Theses and Dissertations in Dentistry: A study in Hispano-America and Spain

  • Oscar Alberto Morales Universidad de los Andes (Retired), VenezuelaUniversidad de Los Hemisferios (Active), Ecuador
  • Bexi Perdomo Departamento de Investigación, Facultad de Odontología, Universidad de Los Andes, Venezuela
  • Daniel Cassany Departamento de Traducción y Ciencias del Lenguaje, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, España
  • Élix Izarra Departamento de Investigación, Facultad de Odontología, Universidad de Los Andes, Venezuela
Keywords: academic writing, gender analysis, thesis, rhetoric structure, Dentistry


Bachelor and master’s thesis or doctoral dissertations play an essential role in scholarship, by spreading research results and strengthening scientific communication. In Iberoamerican universities, these are requisites to get bachelors, masters, and doctor’s degrees in Dentistry. Therefore, there are several proposals to teach this genre to this community. Nonetheless these mostly consist of instructional and prescriptive courses overlooking scientific evidence coming from the disciplinary culture. In the field of discourse analysis, many studies have been conducted on the “thesis” genre in various modalities,  disciplines, and languages. However, to date, there are not any research studies on theses or dissertations on Dentistry in the Spanish language. Hence, this article reports on an analysis of the rhetorical structure of 272 Spanish-language theses and dissertations presented in Iberoamerican universities, and published on line between 2000 and 2018. The results show there is no standard format. That is, there are relevant variations in terms of which sections were included and how they were organized. These variations may be associated to the lack of academic writing programs based on real-life practice within Dentistry’s discourse community, among others. Therefore, an evidence-based teaching of academic writing is suggested
within the discipline of Dentistry.

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Author Biographies

Oscar Alberto Morales, Universidad de los Andes (Retired), VenezuelaUniversidad de Los Hemisferios (Active), Ecuador

Doctor en Comunicación Multilingüe, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, España. Profesor de la carrera de Odontología, Universidad de los Hemisferios, Quito, Ecuador, y profesor titular, Departamento de Investigación, Facultad de Odontología, Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida, Venezuela.

Bexi Perdomo, Departamento de Investigación, Facultad de Odontología, Universidad de Los Andes, Venezuela

Magíster en Educación, mención Enseñanza de Inglés como Lengua Extranjera, Universidad Pedagógica Experimental Libertador, Venezuela. Profesora asociada, Departamento de Investigación, Facultad de Odontología, Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida, Venezuela.

Daniel Cassany, Departamento de Traducción y Ciencias del Lenguaje, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, España

Doctor en Filosofía y Letras, Universitat de Barcelona, España. Profesor titular del Departamento de Traducción y Ciencias del Lenguaje, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, España.

Élix Izarra, Departamento de Investigación, Facultad de Odontología, Universidad de Los Andes, Venezuela

Magíster en Estadística Aplicada al Sector Público, Universidad Alcalá de Henares, España. Profesor asistente del Departamento de Investigación, Facultad de Odontología, Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida,


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