Explicit learning of authorial stance-taking by L2 doctoral students

Peichin Chang*, Mary Schleppegrell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Research on the texts of apprentice academic writers has found that they often exhibit weaknesses related to presenting an authoritative argumentative stance. This study rendered explicit linguistic resources for stance-taking and engaged advanced L2 writers in exploring stance expressions in published research. Both linguistic and language learning theories informed this study. Seven Mandarin-speaking learners of English from fields in social sciences engaged in three writing sessions in which they consulted a concordance tool organized and created to present genre moves (Swales 1990; 2004) and engagement strategies (Martin & White, 2005) used by academic authors in research introductions. Analysis of their drafts showed improvement in rhetorical move structure and stance deployment after using the tool. They were found to be more accurate in applying and identifying stances that present assertive claims and factual statements than moderately assertive stance expressions that present expansive meanings. Despite some success in learning, close text analysis reveals that more help is needed to support students in deploying appropriately assertive claims, substantiating strong claims, and managing their stance expression across several clauses. Overall, this study found that an explicit approach to learning about authorial stance has the potential to raise L2 writers' consciousness and improve their writing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-79
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Writing Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 1


  • Academic writing
  • Authorial stance
  • Explicit learning
  • L2 students
  • Systemic functional linguistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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