A Functional Investigation of Self-mention in Soft Science Master Theses

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Department of English Language, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

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


This study is a quantitative and functional corpus-based study of self-mention in soft science Master theses. One important purpose of this study was to find out the functions of self-mention in soft science Master theses. For this purpose, 20 soft science Master theses in four disciplines (Applied linguistics, Psychology, Geography, and Political sciences), were randomly selected out of the library of four American universities. Five Master theses were selected in each discipline, in a period of seven years (2007-2014). The present study analyzed only  the discussion section of these Master theses. The quantitative analysis of the corpus showed that the frequency of the various forms of self-mention in soft science Master theses is quite different. Among the analyzed resources, “I” with the frequency of 49 was the most frequently used first person pronouns. Based on Tang and John’s (1999) taxonomy of the discourse roles of personal pronouns, self- mentions were functionally analyzed. The findings of the functional dimension of the present study showed that the most frequent discoursal role of self-mentions in the corpus was the recounter of research process, whereas the least frequent role was originator.


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