Taking an effective authorial stance in academic writing: Making the linguistic resources explicit for L2 writers in the social sciences

Peichin Chang, Mary Schleppegrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)


Taking an assertive stance toward research being reviewed or reported is a challenging task for second language writers. This aspect of interpersonal meaning is especially difficult to address through direct instruction, as attention to particular grammatical and lexical choices outside of contexts of use is not enough to help students develop the prosodies (Hood, 2004; 2006; Lemke, 1992; 1998) that are required to be authoritative and create a texture that coherently presents an authorial perspective. This article illustrates how a systemic functional linguistics analysis can identify and render explicit to second language writers some ways published authors create textures of expanding or contracting options as research is presented, reviewed, and evaluated. Drawing on the Engagement framework (Martin & White, 2005), we illustrate different approaches to research article introductions in connection with their rhetorical purposes (Swales, 1990; 2004), highlighting the linguistic resources that are in interaction with each other as authors introduce their studies and review related studies. Specifically, we describe two patterns of expanding options and two patterns of contracting options found in educational research, and suggest pedagogical approaches to making these patterns salient to L2 writers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-151
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of English for Academic Purposes
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Sep 1
Externally publishedYes



  • Academic writing
  • Authorial stance
  • Engagement system
  • Prosodic meanings
  • Rhetorical moves
  • Systemic functional linguistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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