Gender-based Study of Metadiscourse in Research Articles’ Rhetorical Sections

Mahin Yavari, Alireza Fard Kashani


This study investigated whether or not male and female writers of academic research articles were different in the use of interpersonal resources in English. In order to carry out the study, 32 applied linguistics research articles with the standard macrostructure of empirical research articles (Introduction, Method, Results, and Discussion/Conclusion) were selected from amongst the highest ranked journals. The results of the current study indicated that, with respect to both interactive and interactional features, there were no significant gender-based differences in the overall distribution of interpersonal resources in the four sections of the articles (p-value> 0.05). It also confirmed the view that writing differences are not gender-specific, but rather section-specific. In this line, identification of male and female EFL learners’ use of metadiscourse elements will provide guidelines to EFL teachers to tailor their teaching methods and avoid mismatches between classroom practices and learners’ language use.



Metadiscourse; interactive resources; interactional resources; gender

Full Text:



Adams Smith, D.E. (1984). Medical discourse: Aspects of author’s comment. English for Specific Purposes, 3, 25–36.

Crismore, A. (1983). Metadiscourse: What it is and how it is used in school and non-school social science texts. University of Illinois: Centre for the Study of Reading. Technical Report 273.

Crismore, A. (1989). Talking with readers: Metadiscourse as rhetorical act. New York: Peter Lang.

Crismore, A. (2004). Pronouns and metadiscourse as interpersonal rhetorical devices in fundraising letters: A corpus linguistic analysis. In U. Connor & T. A. Upton (Eds.), Discourse in the professions: Perspectives from corpus linguistics (pp. 307-330). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Crismore, A. & Farnsworth, R. (1990). Metadiscourse in popular and professional science discourse. In W. Nash (Ed.), The Writing Scholar: Studies in Academic Discourse (pp. 118-136). Newbury Park, CA: SAGE.

Crismore, A., Markkanen, R., Steffensen, M.S., (1993). Metadiscourse in persuasive writing: A study of texts written by American and Finnish University students. Written Communication, 10(1), 39–7.

D’Angelo, L. (2008). Gender identity and authority in academic book reviews: A metadiscourse analysis across disciplines. Linguistica e Filologia, 27, 205-221.

Dubois, B. L., & Crouch, I. (1975). The question of tag question in women’s speech: They don’t really use more of them, do they? Language in Society, 4, 289-294.

Eggins, S. (2004). An introduction to systemic functional linguistics. London, England: Continuum.

Francis, B., Robson, J. & Read, B. (2001). An analysis of undergraduate writing styles in the context of gender and achievement. Studies in Higher Education, 26(3), 313-326.

Grey, C. (1998). Towards an overview on gender and language variation. Retrieved November 21, 2006, from

Harris, Z. (1959). The transformational model of language structure. Anthropological Linguistics, 1(1), 27-29.

Herbert, R. K. (1990). Gender differences in compliment behaviour. Language in Society, 19, 201-224.

Hernandez Guerra, C., & Hernandez Guerra, J. M. (2008). Discourse analysis and pragmatic metadiscourse in four sub-areas of Economics research articles. Iberica, 16, 81-108.

Herring, S. C. & Paolillo, J. C. (2006). Gender and genre variation in weblogs. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 10(4): 439-459.

Holmes, J. (1984). Women's Language: A Functional Approach. General Linguistics, 24(3), 149-178.

Holmes, J. (1988). Paying compliments: A sex-preferential positive politeness strategy. Journal of Pragmatics, 12(3), 445–465.

Holmes, J. (1989). Sex differences and apologies: One aspect of communicative competence. Applied Linguistics, 10(2), 194–213.

Hopkins, A., & Dudley-Evans, T. (1988). A genre-based investigation of the discussion sections in articles and dissertations. English for Specific Purposes, 7(1), 113-121.

Hyland, K. (1994). Hedging in academic writing and EAP textbooks. English for Specific Purposes, 13(3), 239-256.

Hyland, K. (1998). Persuasion and context: the pragmatics of academic metadiscourse. Journal of Pragmatics, 30, 437-55.

Hyland, K. (2000). Disciplinary discourses: Social interactions in academic writing. Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education.

Hyland, K. (2001). Humble servants of the discipline? Self-mention in research articles. English for Specific Purposes, 20(3), 207–226.

Hyland, K. (2002). Authority and invisibility: Authorial identity in academic writing. Journal of Pragmatics, 34(8), 1091-1112.

Hyland, K. (2005a). Metadiscourse: Exploring interaction in writing. London: Continuum.

Hyland, K. (2005b). Stance and engagement: A model of interaction in academic discourse. Discourse Studies, 7(2), 173–191.

Hyland, K. (2007). Applying a gloss: Exemplifying and reformulating in academic discourse. Applied Linguistics, 28(2), 266–285.

Hyland, K., & Tse, P. (2004). Metadiscourse in academic writing: a reappraisal. Applied Linguistics 25(2), 156–177.

Janssen, A., & Murachver, T. (2004). The relationship between gender and topic in gender-preferential language use. Written Communication, 21(4), 344-367.

Johnson, D., & D. H. Roen. (1992). Complimenting and involvement in peer-reviews: Gender variation. Language in society, 21(1), 27-57.

Kuhi, D. Yavari, M. & Sorayaeiazar, A. (2012). Metadiscourse in applied linguistics research articles: A cross-sectional survey. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 3(11), 405-414.

Lakoff, R. (1975). Language and women’s place. New York: Harper & Row.

Lautamatti, L. (1978). Observations on the development of the topic in simplified discourse. In V. Kohonen & N. E. Enkvist (Eds.), Text linguistics, cognitive learning, and language teaching (pp. 71-104). Turku, Finland: Finnish Association for Applied Linguistics.

Lyons, J. (1977). Semantics. (Vols. 1 & 2). Cambridge: CUP.

Lynch, C., & Strauss-Noll, M. (1987). Mauve Washers: Sex-differences in freshman writing. English Journal, 76, 90-94.

McMillan, J., Clifton, R., Mcgrath, D., & Gale, W.S. (1977). Women’s language: Uncertainty or interpersonal sensitivity and emotionality?. Sex Roles, 3, 545-559.

Rubin, D. L., & Greene, K. (1992). Gender typical style in written language. Research in the Teaching of English, 26, 7-40.

Salager-Meyer, F. (1994). Hedges and textual communicative function in medical English written discourse. English for Specific Purposes, 13(2), 149-170.

Schiffrin, D. (1980). Metatalk: Organisational and evaluative brackets in discourse. Language and Social Interaction, 50, 199-236.

Swales, J. (1990). Genre analysis: English in academic and research setting. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tannen, D. (1994). Gender and Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tse, p., & Hyland, K. (2008). Robot Kung Fu: Gender and professional identity in biology and philosophy reviews. Journal of Pragmatics, 40, 1232-1248.

Vande Kopple, W. (1985). Some exploratory discourse on metadiscourse. College Composition and Communication, 36, 82–93.

Williams, J. M. (1981). Style: Ten lessons in clarity and grace. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.