An Investigation of Metadiscourse Features in Applied Linguistics Academic Research Articles and Master’s Dissertations

Sultan H. Alharbi


The current study comparatively investigated the employment of metadiscourse items in 40 post-method sections/chapters of research articles (RAs) and master’s dissertations (MAs) in the field of applied linguistics. Utilizing Hyland’s (2005a) model of metadiscourse in analysing metadiscourse elements detected in both sets of texts, the findings indicated that interactive metadiscourse features were more frequent in both sets of texts than interactional metadiscourse items, and that the master’s dissertation subcorpus included significantly higher occurrences of most metadiscourse devices. Results indicated that transitions are the most used category of metadiscourse in research articles and master’s dissertations, while hedges are the most frequent interactional metadiscourse category used in both subcorpora. Results also showed that the master’s dissertation subcorpus consists of significantly higher occurrences of some metadiscourse devices, which might be due to the nature of both genres. The findings have important implications, particularly for L2 student writers, by facilitating their understanding of metadiscourse use in this field. The study concludes with the limitations, as well as recommendations for future research.


Metadiscourse, Genre, Applied Linguistics, RAs, MAs

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