In today's context of disseminating research internationally, the need to publish research papers in English-medium journals has become ever more pressing, not only for those scholars who seek to make their research visible to a wider audience and gain international recognition, but also for those who intend to obtain academic promotion and professional benefits, such as research funding and salary increment (Lillis & Curry, 2010; Moreno, 2010; Hanauer & Englander, 2011; Martin, Rey-Rocha, Burgess & Moreno, 2014). This is particularly the case in disciplinary areas such as the health sciences, where the number of scientific journals published in languages other than English has diminished dramatically over the last few years to almost total extinction.
Aside from geopolitical considerations related to the dominance of English (see, for example, Ammon, 2001, 2012; Ferguson, 2007), it is a fact that the writing up of a research paper generally involves difficulties, especially for inexperienced writers and users of English as an Additional Language [EAL]. In order to get their papers accepted, scholars have to demonstrate to the other members of their particular disciplinary communities, especially the editors and reviewers of international English language journals, that they have mastered the established rhetorical conventions which have been institutionalised in a specific research genre, such as the research article [RA]. In response to this situation, many English for Research Publication Purposes [ERPP] researchers and practitioners have put their energies into providing support to these scholars, including the analysis of the structural organisation of experimental RAs. Many of these studies have revealed that the typical macro-structure of experimental papers adheres to the IMRD [Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion] pattern, not only across disciplines but also across languages. Other authors, such as Cargill and O'connor (2013) and Burgess and Cargill (2013), have also noted a slight variation to this prevalent pattern in terms of the order in which these sections appear throughout the paper [IRDM], which consists in presenting the methods section at the end of the RA.