A Study of Theme and Information Structure in Postgraduate Business Students’ Multimodal Written Texts: A SF-MDA of Management Accounting​ Texts


Thematic progression patterning plays a vital role in organizing the flow of Theme and Information structures in a text. SFL-based research in multimodal business communication and representation has been confined to workplace and school contexts. Whereas few research studies have investigated the use of cohesive devices in tertiary business discourse, a dearth of research studies explored its use in ESL academic texts. Multimodal communication research in tertiary contexts has been confined to mathematics, science and computing, and nursing. The importance of examining Theme and Information structures in tertiary settings becomes pertinent since it plays a vital role in maximising students’ learning experiences. This presentation reports on a case study designed to investigate and analyse the use of Theme and Information structure in a key topic in the Management Accounting module, namely budgeting schedules. An Systemic Functional Multimodal Discourse Analysis (SF-MDA) approach (Alyousef, 2013, 2014) was employed in the analyses of multimodal texts. The participants were five first-year Master of Commerce Accounting students enrolled at an Australian university. The study employed Halliday’s (1994) analytical tools of systemic functional linguistics (SFL). The SF-MDA revealed the frequency of two patterns: Theme reiteration and the linear patterns. Theme reiteration in accounting is used to define the accounting numerical values. Thematic choices in accounting tables are constrained by the authoritative source of knowledge. The presentation concludes with a presentation of the pedagogical implications of the findings. The SF-MDA contributes to the description of textual meanings in management accounting tables.

Author Information
Hesham Suleiman Dawoud Alyousef, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia

Paper Information
Conference: ACLL2015
Stream: Conversation analysis

This paper is part of the ACLL2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon