The Lexical and Textual Characteristics of Medical Case Reports: A Preliminary Investigation

広島外国語教育研究 Issue 24 Page 29-50 published_at 2021-03-01
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Title ( eng )
The Lexical and Textual Characteristics of Medical Case Reports: A Preliminary Investigation
Title ( jpn )
英語症例報告の語彙的・テキスト的特徴 : 予備調査の結果から
Source Title
Hiroshima Studies in Language and Language Education
Issue 24
Start Page 29
End Page 50
Journal Identifire
[PISSN] 1347-0892
[NCID] AA11424332
1. 症例報告にはどのようなテキスト的特徴が見られるか。
2. 症例報告の小規模な初期コーパスから,主要な語彙項目や定型的言語表現の特定は可能か。
分析結果によれば,症例報告で用いられる医学用語は難解なものもあるが,全体的な構成や展開は極めてシンプルで,3つの主要セクション(緒言,症例提示,考察)および抄録と参考文献で構成されている。緒言では当該疾患についての概要を述べ,新しい症例の導入説明を行う。症例提示では症例の顕著な特徴を記述し,考察では関連文献を引用しつつ,その症例が興味深い理由を論述し,最後は示唆で締め括る。詳細なコーパス分析により,症例報告において広範囲かつ高頻度で出現する用語や表現の特定が可能である。例えば,非定型的症例の導入説明には,“We report a case…” のような表現が用いられる。また,考察で著者の示唆が記述される部分では,‘may’ や ‘can’ のような法助動詞とbe動詞のコロケーションが頻出する。
In this article, we present our findings on an analysis of a corpus of 108 medical case reports in English. We first summarize the history of our involvement with medical English curriculum development, then present our findings from a discourse analysis of three case reports and a preliminary corpus analysis of the entire collection of articles. We conclude with a consideration of the pedagogical implications.
The following research questions are addressed:
1. What textual features of medical case reports can be identified?
2. From a small initial corpus of case reports, is it possible to identify key lexical items and formulaic sequences?
The results of the analyses show that although the medical terminology of case reports may be challenging, their overall organization and structure is quite simple, comprising three main sections (introduction, case presentation/report, and discussion) plus an abstract and references. The introduction describes the key area and introduces the new case. The case presentation/report narrates the salient features of the case, and the discussion involves an explanation of why the case is interesting or unusual, usually citing other literature in the area, and concluding with some suggestions. From the detailed corpus analysis a variety of terms and expressions that occur frequently and in a wide range of case reports can be identified. For example, phrases such as “We report a case . . .” are used to introduce the atypical case described in the study, and the modal verbs ‘may’ and ‘can’ often collocate with ‘be’ in the suggestions made by the authors in the discussion.
In the section on pedagogical implications, we discuss the difference between reading case reports and actually writing them. While reading and analyzing case reports can start relatively early in students’ medical studies, we argue that writing case reports is too big a challenge for third-year undergraduates. However, these students could be taught first to write up usual rather than rare cases by using simulated patient information, effectively developing skills for the presentation section of a case report. For the writing of actual case reports, we consider how training in basic corpus analysis could be provided, enabling researchers to build small corpora relevant to their needs.
Resource Type departmental bulletin paper
Date of Issued 2021-03-01
Copyright (c) 2021 広島大学外国語教育研究センター
Publish Type Version of Record
Access Rights open access
Source Identifier
[ISSN] 1347-0892
[NCID] AA11424332