An Exploration of Discoursal Construction of Identity in Academic Writing

Document Type: Research Paper


Department of English Language, Maragheh Branch, Islamic Azad University, Maragheh, Iran


The view that academic writing is purely objective, impersonal and informational, which is often reflected in English for Academic Purposes materials, has been criticized by a number of researchers. By now, the view of academic writing as embodying interaction among writers, readers and the academic community as a whole has been established. Following this assumption, the present study focused on how second/foreign language writers enact, construct, and invent themselves through writing. In this study, the theoretical stance on identity is grounded on Ivanič’s (1998) four interrelated aspects of writer identity, namely autobiographical self, discoursal self, authorial self, and possibilities for self-hood in the socio-cultural and institutional contexts. Hyland’s model of metadiscourse (2004a) was used as the analytical tool for analyzing texts. Based on a corpus of 30 research articles, the overall distribution of evidential markers, hedges, boosters, attitude markers, and self-mentions were calculated across four rhetorical sections (Abstract, Introduction, Methodology, Discussion and Conclusion) of the research articles. According to the results of this study, identity is a critical aspect of writing which should be brought into the mainstream of second/foreign language writing pedagogy through consciousness -raising or the specific teaching of certain features.


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