Disciplinary and paradigmatic influences on interactional metadiscourse in research articles

Guangwei Hu, Feng Cao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


This comparative study draws on an interpersonal model of metadiscourse to examine disciplinary and paradigmatic influences on the use of interactional metadiscourse in the post-method sections of 120 research articles. These research articles were drawn from three social science disciplines (i.e., applied linguistics, education, and psychology) and two research paradigms (i.e., quantitative and qualitative research). Quantitative analyses showed that the applied linguistics and education research articles used boosters more frequently than the psychology research articles. Furthermore, the applied linguistics subcorpus deployed more reader references but fewer self-mentions than the psychology subcorpus. Cross-paradigmatic comparisons revealed that the quantitative research articles made more frequent use of hedges, boosters, attitude markers, engagement markers as a main type, and directives as a subtype than the qualitative research articles. Qualitative analyses identified additional cross-disciplinary and cross-paradigmatic differences in the choice or function of specific metadiscoursal resources. These observed differences are attributable to the knowledge-knower structures characteristic of the disciplines and the epistemologies underlying the research paradigms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-25
Number of pages14
JournalEnglish for Specific Purposes
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Applied linguistics
  • Education
  • Interactional metadiscourse
  • Psychology
  • Qualitative research
  • Quantitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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