Establishing authorial presence by the exclusive-we: a functional approach to self-mentions in engineering research articles

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Solsun A., AKBAŞ E.

Participatory Educational Research, vol.9, no.3, pp.281-295, 2022 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 9 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.17275/per.
  • Journal Name: Participatory Educational Research
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.281-295
  • Keywords: Academic writing, Authorial presence, Interaction, Metadiscourse, Self-mentions
  • Kayseri University Affiliated: No


© 2022, Ozgen Korkmaz. All rights reserved.Although academic writing has been seen as an objective form of writing, recent studies have shown that it is a form of social interaction and not totally impersonal. In line with this view, Hyland (2002) stated that academic writing is also strongly linked with the manifestation of authorial presence across the text. Included in the interactional metadiscourse framework devised by Hyland (2005), self-mentions enable writers to express their beliefs, show attitudes, become a part of the community, and interact with their readers. Consequently, academic texts become more credible, accountable, and interactive by the manifestation of authorial presence through self-mentions. This paper analyses the use, distribution and discourse functions of self-mentions, the we-oriented authorial presence in particular. The corpus of the study consisted of 200 Results and Discussion sections from research articles (RAs) published in the field of engineering and technology, totaling approximately 270,000 words. Both manual and automatic analyses were employed to achieve more accurate results and the verbs most frequently collocated with an explicit authorial we presence were also analysed manually. The results of the quantitative and qualitative analyses clearly showed that the most frequent function used in Results and Discussion sections in the field was explaining a procedure with 723 instances (54.69%), and that the least frequent functions which writers employed were describing themselves and making a claim/prediction, each with two instances (0.15%). The qualitative analysis showed that writers employed authorial presence to achieve different discourse functions (such as explaining a procedure, stating goals, describing themselves and making a claim or prediction), but preferred to avoid using more argumentative and interactional functions (describing themselves and making a claim or prediction), which can be strongly associated with the purpose of evading interaction with the readers.