Reporting Verbs and Related Syntactic Choices in Students' Theses: A Study of Two Disciplines

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.7160/eriesj.2021.140301

Keywords:

Cited author, integral citation, Literature review, Reporting citation, Reporting verb

Abstract

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.

Author Biography

Lenka Kučírková, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Economics and Management, Department of Languages

Lenka Kučírková obtained her Ph.D. in Methodology and Didactics of the English Language. She is the Head of the Department of Languages at the Faculty of Economics and Management, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague. Among her research interests belong the methodology of teaching English, academic English and applied linguistics. 

References

Agbaglo, E. (2017) ‘The Types and the Frequencies of Reporting Verbs in Research Articles Written by Lecturers in a Ghanaian University’, Journal of Literature, Language and Linguistics, Vol. 34, pp. 51–57.

Bloch, J. (2010) ‘A concordance-based study of the use of reporting verbs as rhetorical devices in academic papers’, Journal of Writing Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 219–244. https://doi.org/10.17239/jowr-2010.02.02.7

Harwood, N. (2009) ‘An interview-based study of functions of citations in academic writing across two disciplines’, Journal of Pragmatics, Vol. 41, No. 3, pp. 497–518. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2008.06.001

Hawes, T. and Thomas S. (1997) ‘Tense Choices in Citations’, Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 31, No. 3, pp. 393–414.

Hyland, K. (1998) Hedging in scientific research articles. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Hyland, K. (1999) ‘Academic attribution: Citation and the construction of disciplinary knowledge’, Applied Linguistics, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 341–367. https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/20.3.341

Hyland, K. (2002) ‘Activity and evaluation: reporting practices in academic writing’, in Flowerdew, J. (Eed.), Academic discourse, London: Longman, pp. 115–130.

Hyland, K. (2004) Disciplinary Discourses. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.

Hyland, K. (2012) ‘English for Academic Purposes and Discourse Analysis’, in Gee, J. P. and Handford, M. (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis, London: Routledge, pp. 412–423.

Hyland, K. (2014) ‘English for Academic Purposes’, in Leung, C. and Street, B. (ed.) The Routledge Companion to English Studies, London: Routledge.

Hyland, K. and Jiang, F. K. (2017) ‘Is academic writing becoming more informal?’, English for Specific Purposes, Vol. 45, pp. 40–51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esp.2016.09.001

Jafarigohar, M. and Mohammadkani, A. (2015) ‘Reporting verbs in applied linguistics research articles by native and non-native writers’, Theory and Practice in Language Studies, Vol. 5, No. 12, pp. 2490–2496. https://doi.org/10.17507/tpls.0512.08

Jomaa, N. J. and Bidin, S. J. (2016) ‘Roles of the cited author in citations of the literature review by EFL postgraduates’, International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, Vol. 5, No. 7, pp. 213–225. https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.5n.7p.213

Jomaa, N. J. and Bidin, S. J. (2017) ‘Perspective of EFL doctoral students on challenges of citations in academic writing’, Malaysian Journal of Learning and Instruction, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 177–209. https://doi.org/10.32890/mjli2017.14.2.7

Jomaa, N. J. and Bidin, S. J. (2019) ‘Variations in the Citation Use and Perceptions in Writing the Literature Review by EFL Postgraduates’, Eurasian Journal of Applied Linguistics, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 441–460. http://dx.doi.org/10.32601/ejal.651398

Lee, J. L., Hitchcock, C. and Casal, J. E. (2018) ‘Citation practices of L2 university students in first-year writing: Form, function, and stance’, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, Vol. 33, pp. 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2018.01.001

Liardét, C. L. and Black, S. (2019) ‘"So and so" says, states and argues: A corpus-assisted engagement analysis of RVs’, Journal of Second Language Writing, Vol. 44, pp. 37–50. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2019.02.001

Manan, N. A. and Noor, N. M. (2014) ‘Analysis of RVs in Master's theses’, Procedia - Social and Behavioural Sciences, Vol. 134, pp. 140–145. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.04.232

Manan, N. A. and Noor, N. M. (2015) ‘The use of integral citations in Master's degree theses’, International Journal of Education and Research, Vol. 3, No. 7, pp. 233–246.

Mansourizadeh, K. and Ahmad, U. K. (2011) ‘Citation practices among non-native expert and novice scientific writers’, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 152–161. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2011.03.004

Nguyen, T. T. L. and Pramoolsook, I. (2014) ‘A move-based structure of the master's thesis literature review chapters by Vietnamese TESOL postgraduates’, LangLit: An International Peer-Reviewed Open Access Journal, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 283–301.

Nguyen, T. T. L. and Pramoolsook, I. (2015) ‘Citation in Vietnamese TESOL: Analysis of master's thesis introduction chapters’, The Asian ESP Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 95–118.

Nguyen, T. T. L. and Pramoolsook, I. (2016) ‘Citations in literature review chapters of TESOL master’s theses by Vietnamese postgraduates’, GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 17–32. https://doi.org/10.17576/gema-2016-1602-02

Petrić, B. (2007) ‘Rhetorical functions of citations in high- and low-rated Master's theses’, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 238–253. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2007.09.002

Petrić, B. and Harwood, N. (2013) ‘Task requirements, task representation, and self-reported citation functions: An exploratory study of a successful L2 student's writing’, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 110–124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2013.01.002

Ramoroka, B. T. (2014) ‘Integration of sources in academic writing: a corpus-based study of citation practices in essay writing in two departments at the University of Botswana’, Reading and Writing, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 1–7. https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v5i1.41

Ridley, D. (2008) Multiple Purposes of Literature Review. London: Sage.

Samraj, B. (2013) ‘Form and function of citations in discussion sections of Master's theses and research articles’, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp. 299–310. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2013.09.001

Seliger, H. W. and Shohamy, E. (1990) Second Language Research Methods, 2nd edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Soler-Monreal, C. and Gil-Salom, L. (2011) ‘A cross-language study on citation practice in Ph.D. theses’, International Journal of English Studies, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 53–75. https://doi.org/10.6018/ijes/2011/2/149641

Swales, J. M. (1990) Genre Analysis: English in academic and research settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Swales, J. M. (2014) ‘Variation in Citational Practice in a Corpus of Student Biology Papers: From Parenthetical Plonking to Intertextual Storytelling’, Written Communication, Vol. 31, No. 1, 118–141. https://doi.org/10.1177/0741088313515166

Swales, J. M. and Feak, C. B. (2004) Academic writing for graduate students: Essential tasks and skills, 2nd edition, Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press.

Thomas S. and Hawes, T. P. (1994) ‘Reporting verbs in medical journal articles’, English for Specific Purposes, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 129–148. https://doi.org/10.1016/0889-4906(94)90012-4

Thompson, P. (2005) ‘Points of focus and position: Intertextual reference in PhD theses’, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 307–323. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2005.07.006

Thompson, G. and Ye, Y. (1991) ‘Evaluation in the reporting verbs used in academic papers’, Applied Linguistics, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp. 365–382. https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/12.4.365

Thompson, P. and Tribble, C. (2001) ‘Looking at citations: Using corpora in English for academic purposes’, Language, Learning and Technology, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 91–105. https://dx.doi.org/10125/44568

Uba, S. Y. (2020) ‘Semantic Categories of Reporting Verbs across Four Disciplines in Research Articles’, English Language Teaching, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 89–98. https://doi.org/10.5539/elt.v13n1p89

Additional Files

Published

2021-09-30

How to Cite

Jarkovská, M. and Kučírková, L. (2021) ’Reporting Verbs and Related Syntactic Choices in Students’ Theses: A Study of Two Disciplines ’, Journal on Efficiency and Responsibility in Education and Science, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 130–142 https://doi.org/10.7160/eriesj.2021.140301.

Issue

Section

Research Paper

Most read articles by the same author(s)