Get Complete Project Material File(s) Now! »



This chapter outlines the literature that has been significant in my conceptualisation of the analyses reported on and discussed in Chapter 4. These analyses, as explained in the previous chapter, are part of the investigation in terms of genre structure and metadiscourse patterns of two corpora of texts, one of work published by professionals and the other produced by students, and are undertaken as a means of exploring the ways in which the students are able to take on a professional identity in their writing. Identity is viewed here as linked with purpose at two different levels within the text and, because this implies taking into account the reader and the discourse community, as explained below, the current study is located within a social view of writing.Accordingly, having in this chapter first briefly explored the notions of identity and purpose in writing (2.1), I go on to outline various frameworks for analysis that link communicative purpose to language patterns (2.2). Moving from this more theoretical discussion, I then focus on writing in the disciplines (2.3). The description of academic writing that is undertaken in this study takes the form of an analysis of two corpora which exemplify professional and student writing in radiology, a specialty in the field of medicine. This field has been the focus of much scholarly attention from sociologists, educationalists and linguists and an overview of the research literature relating to discourse in medicine is presented (2.4).


The notion of identity has become an important issue in writing research, particularly since a focus on discourse and semiotic systems for making meaning has led to a view of identity less as an individualistic notion rooted in private experience than as an understanding of a relationship with the social (Lemke 1992; Norton 1997). Thus, for Hyland (2002f: 66),identity is located in “the public, institutionally defined roles people create in writing as community members”. These identities are represented in texts in terms of discourses which make available to people both ways of understanding the world and ways of presenting themselves as members of the community (Hyland 2002b). Identity understood in this way is seen not as being reflected but rather as constructed in discourse (Benwell and Stokoe 2006).Examining writer identity within an approach to text as discourse implies that the construct of identity encapsulates notions of purpose. According to Hyland’s (2002f: 11) definition:Discourse refers to language as use, and to the purposes and functions linguistic forms serve in texts. Here the linguistic patterns of finished texts point to contexts beyond the page, implying a range of social constraints and choices which operate on writers in any context. The writer, then, has certain goals and intentions, certain relationships to his or her readers, and certain information to convey, and the forms of a text are resources used to accomplish these.Lemke (1992: 86), in his critique of the tendency of systemic functional theory to confine the interpersonal to the interactional and to see communication in terms of exchanging messages, emphasises the importance of these goals and relationships as being social rather than individual. He suggests that we should move away from “centralising the speaking individual, of giving context of situation (communicative context) and the communicative function priority over context of culture (intertextual context) and the constitutive function”. It is important then for an understanding of identity and purpose to link these concepts with the social aspects of language and not to view them as simply the expression of an individual’s meanings.The relationship between identity and purpose is realised in the way in which the writers of the corpus of medical case reports examined in this study identify themselves as professionals by using an appropriate genre to achieve the institutional purposes that will be accomplished by the reporting of a particular case.The idea of the discourse community and the construct of genre are linked because the discoursal expectations associated with discourse communities “create the genres that articulate [their] operations” (Swales 1998: 212) and therefore by adopting appropriate genres writers identify themselves with a community. This means that they take on particular ways of representing the world and particular social purposes in their writing. The notion of genre, then, provides an important way of operationalising writer identity and purpose and is a significant construct in this study. The extensive research literature on genre is surveyed in 2.2.2.Another way of explaining how identity and purpose may be seen operating in texts through the assumptions about relationships between writer and reader that are implicit in purposeful discourse practices is in terms of metadiscourse. Hyland (2005: 14), referring to the explicit ways in which writers project themselves into texts in order to guide and relate to their readers, observes that writers of particular texts have to project a shared context for the reader:In pursuing their personal and professional goals, senders seek to embed their discourse in a particular social world which they reflect and conjure up through particular recognized and accepted discourses.As noted below, metadiscourse can express identity in terms of persona (an identity associated with discourse community membership) and ethos (an identity related to credibility established within the discourse), allowing writers to align themselves with disciplinary values and culture (Hyland 1997, 2005). Metadiscourse is also clearly linked with purpose in texts. Grabe and Kaplan (1996) suggest that the parameter of purpose for writing addresses a range of functional issues in addition to genre and that these include purposes generally described in terms of metadiscourse. Because these types of purpose are less overt than and not necessarily implicated in genre, they can be accounted for as a different dimension of writing.I will consider the research literature in the areas of genre and metadiscourse studies later in this chapter and in the remainder of this section I propose rather to discuss other work that addresses itself explicitly to aspects of the notion of identity in academic writing. Because the notion of writer identity has a complex history in rhetorical theory and literary criticism, Cherry’s (1988) paper on self-representation in written discourse provides a useful analysis of two commonly used terms for the self as writer. According to Cherry, ‘persona’, a term deriving originally from literary tradition, refers to public and institutionally defined self-representation in writing. He distinguishes it from another term defined in Aristotelian discussions of rhetoric and still used in writing about academic discourse (e.g. Bizzell 1992), namely ‘ethos’. While making it clear that the terms interact in complex ways, Cherry (1988:268-269) summarises the distinction between them as follows: With its roots in the rhetorical tradition, ethos refers to a set of characteristics that, if attributed to a writer on the basis of textual evidence, will enhance the writer’s credibility. Persona, on the other hand, traces its roots through literature and literary criticism and provides a way of describing the roles authors create for themselves in written discourse given their representation of audience, subject matter, and other elements of context.

READ  IEC 61508 in a Nutshell: An Introduction to Functional Safety

1.0 Exploring purpose and identity in writing
1.1 Background to the study 
1.2 Research questions 
1.3 Research aims 
1.4 Theoretical basis for the study
1.4.1 Systemic functional linguistics
1.4.2 Genre
1.4.3 Metadiscourse
1.5 Analysis of data 
1.6 Outline of the thesis
2.0 Introduction 
2.1 Identity and purpose in writing 
2.2 Frameworks for analysis of text 
2.2.1 Analysis of text as discourse
2.2.2 Genre analysis Genre as rhetoric Systemic functional approaches to genre Genre analysis in English for Specific Purposes Genre and text type Genre variation and continuity Genre and ideology
2.2.3 Metadiscourse analysis
2.3 Writing in the disciplines 
2.3.1 The discourse community
2.3.2 Student writing in the discourse community
2.3.3 The genre approach to writing
2.4 Discourse in medicine
2.5 Summary and conclusion 
3.0 Introduction 
3.1 Methodological framework
3.1.1 Levels of context in Systemic Functional Linguistics
3.1.2 Analytical constructs in Systemic Functional Linguistics Register Genre Ideology
3.1.3 Genre as a focus of analysis
3.1.4 Metadiscourse analysis
3.1.5 Relationship between aspects of the methodological framework
3.2 Data collection 
3.3 Analysis of texts
3.3.1 Genre analysis Genre Text type Lexicogrammar Conclusion
3.3.2 Metadiscourse analysis Overview of the scheme for metadiscourse analysis Interactive metadiscourse resources Interactional metadiscourse resources Applying the metadiscourse analysis
3.4 Summary and conclusion
4.0 Introduction 
4.1 Identity in discourse 
4.2 The genre of the case report in medical writing
4.3 Structure of the genre as evidenced in the corpus of professional radiology case reports 
4.3.1 Identification of moves in the professional case report
4.3.2 Establishing research space in the professional case report
4.3.3 Description of moves and related patterns in the professional case report Moves in the introduction section Problem-Solution pattern in the case presentation section Moves in the case presentation section Moves in the discussion and conclusion section Conclusion
4.3.4 The abstract in the professional case report
4.3.5 Conclusion
4.4 Comparison of generic structure of student and professional case reports 
4.4.1 Moves in the student corpus
4.4.2 Comparison across the two corpora of aspects reflecting writer identity Identifying aspects reflecting writer identity Comparison of the status of moves and the establishment of a research space Influence of the essay genre in the introduction section of student case reports Comparison of move order stability Comparison of the Problem-Solution pattern in the case presentation section Comparison of moves in the case presentation section Comparison of moves in the discussion and conclusion sections
4.4.3 Conclusion
4.5 Comparative lexicogrammatical analysis of a single case report from each corpus 
4.5.1 Findings from the transitivity analysis
4.5.2 Findings from the thematic analysis
4.5.3 Conclusion
4.6 Metadiscoursal indications of identity in the two corpora 
4.6.1 Characteristics of metadiscourse in professional case reports Occurrence of metadiscourse markers in professional case reports Interactive metadiscourse features Interactional metadiscourse features Metadiscourse choices in different moves in the professional case report Conclusion
4.6.2 Comparison of metadiscourse in the two corpora of case reports . Comparative characteristics of metadiscourse in professional and student case reports Comparison of interactive metadiscourse features Comparison of interactional metadiscourse features
4.6.3 Conclusion
4.7 Summary and conclusion 
5.0 Introduction 
5.1 Discussion of findings 
5.2 Contribution of the study 
5.3 Limitations of the study and suggestions for further research 
5.4 Implications and applications of findings 
5.5 Conclusion




Related Posts