Reporting Verbs and Related Syntactic Choices in Students' Theses: A Study of Two Disciplines
Keywords:Cited author, integral citation, Literature review, Reporting citation, Reporting verb
Adopting Hyland's (2002) framework of reporting words (RVs), the paper investigates the use of RVs in Master's theses written in English by students of two disciplines, Economics and Management and Natural Resources. The data were drawn from two sub-corpora, each consisting of 82 Literature Reviews, where other authors' research is summarised and commented on. Besides determining the most frequent communicative functions, in this paper, the RVs are further analysed in terms of the verb tense, voice, and subject-agent. The findings revealed significant differences between the two disciplines. In the former, most RVs were in the present active with named-author as the subject, conveying a neutral attitude towards the reported message and neutrally summarising previous research outcomes. Most RVs were in the past tense in the latter, reporting on past research procedures or outcomes. The findings reveal infrequent use of evaluative or critical verbs. Each discipline's predominant choice may suggest writers' lower ability to highlight the cited sources' direct relevance to their research. The study hopes to contribute to the efficacy of teaching English for Academic Purposes to non-native speakers. It has pedagogical implications for academic writing in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses at non-philological tertiary education institutions.
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