One major purpose of the Introduction of a research text is to announce the direction of the study (DoS). Yet, formulating a DoS can be quite a demanding task for the novice writer. This explains why it is a common topic covered in research manuals and guidebooks of English for research and publication purposes (ERPP), with both offering advice on the use of three generic linguistic resources: the purpose statement, the research question and/or the hypothesis - collectively referred to by Lim (2018) as directional determinants (or the determinants hereafter). The coverage of the trio, however, varies greatly between the two types of literature. research manuals often emphasize the epistemological orientation of an inquiry as a key shaper of the use of the determinants, paying little attention to their textual realizations. In contrast, ERPP guidebooks tend to provide instructions concerning often overly-general linguistic conventions while downplaying how they may be constrained by epistemological considerations. Both lacunae have resulted from a lack of systematic inquiries of the determinants from which empirical insights can be drawn. Addressing these gaps, this paper presents a study that compares the use of the determinants in the Introductions of three types of research articles published in Information Systems: behavioural science research, interpretivist research and design science research. results indicate marked differences in the use of the determinants across the three types of writing in terms of their choices, propositional content and linguistic realizations. Drawing on these observations, the paper also discusses how to instruct novice writers in formulating epistemologically-specific directional determinants.
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