Interactional Metadiscourse in Research Article Abstracts: An Analysis from Public Health Journals

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Watinee Suntara Sirisira Chokthawikit


Research article (RA) abstracts are the first point of contact for readers of academic works seeking research in their fields. They also determine whether readers decide to read the rest of the article. For these reasons, skillfully written RA abstracts are important for novice writers who wish to enter the discourse community of their discipline. Previous studies, e.g., Chang (2016) Gillaerts and van de Velde (2010) Liu and Huang (2017) have taken a closer look by exploring interactional and interactive metadiscourse markers in RA abstracts. Key findings show that RA abstracts are likely to be persuasive endeavors with interaction between authors and readers. Although many disciplines have been subjected to this rhetorical analysis, very few studies have explored interactional and interactive metadiscourse markers in the discipline of public health. The present study addresses this gap by analyzing interactional and interactive metadiscourse markers in 60 RA abstracts within the discipline of public health. Based on Hyland (2005b) classification of stance and taxonomy of interactive metadiscourse markers (Hyland, 2005a), the findings revealed that the most frequent uses of stance were attitude markers, self-mentions, hedges and boosters, respectively. Moreover, the use of transition markers to project additive, consequential or contrastive connections were found extensively. Our findings suggest that RA abstracts are a persuasive endeavor reflecting social communication and an interaction between author and audience.


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