The use of metadiscourse and persuasion: An analysis of first year university students' timed argumentative essays

Chung Kwong Ho, Cissy Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


This study attempts to obtain a better understanding of the way first-year university students construct persuasive arguments in writing by exploring their pattern of use of metadiscourse. A total of 181 argumentative essays produced by first-year university students while completing a timed writing task were analyzed by drawing upon the interpersonal model of metadiscourse as the analytical framework. The findings indicate that, while writers of low-rated essays differ significantly from those of high-rated ones only in the use of a few metadiscourse markers, they have problems using metadiscourse in constructing convincing arguments. Our study suggests that direct and explicit teaching and learning of metadiscourse should be implemented at both secondary education and at the early stage of tertiary education to enable students to use metadiscourse effectively in creating convincing arguments in English academic writing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-68
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of English for Academic Purposes
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


  • Academic writing
  • Argumentation
  • First-year university students
  • Metadiscourse
  • Persuasion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this