A Corpus-driven Cross-disciplinary Study of Inclusive and Exclusive We in Research Article Abstracts

Main Article Content

Asiye Doğan-Uçar
Erdem Akbasb

Abstract

With its distinct characteristics, the research article (hereafter RA) abstract has been a major area of interest within the field of metadiscourse. Investigating authorial presence displayed in RA abstracts can play an important role in illuminating the nature of the interaction among the writer, the text, and the reader. This study aimed to shed light on the disciplinary variation on how much, and for what purposes, authorial presence is shown in RA abstracts through the use of the first-person plural pronoun we as an engagement marker (the inclusive form) and a self-mention device (the exclusive form) using a corpus of RA abstracts in the fields of Bioengineering and Software Engineering (hard sciences), and Psychology and Sociology (soft sciences). The inclusive we was found to be very rare, therefore, the majority of the analysis focused on the exclusive we. The results indicated a considerable variation across the sampled disciplines and a general tendency to use self-mention when explaining purposes, procedures, and results, but not when introducing and concluding, or elaborating arguments. The findings of this study will contribute to a deeper understanding of the disciplinary variation in the use and communicative functions of we, which could enhance academic writing practices.

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Author Biographies

Asiye Doğan-Uçar, School of Foreign Languages, Erciyes University, Turkey

A Ph.D. student at Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey where she also works as an EFL instructor. She has a BA degree in ELT from Middle East Technical University and an MA degree in ELL from Erciyes University. Her research interests include discourse analysis, literature and culture in ELT.

Erdem Akbasb, English Language Teaching, Faculty of Education Erciyes University, Turkey

An assistant professor at the Department of Foreign Languages Education at Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey. Presenting his research extensively at various reputable international conferences, he published articles in national and international journals/books. Dr. Erdem Akbas co-organized the first-of-its-kind conference on Metadiscourse in 2017, 2019 and 2021; published an edited book and an edited special issue on Metadiscourse.

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