Stance adverbials in research writing


stance adverbials
corpus analysis
genre analysis
research articles
expresiones adverbiales epistémicas
análisis de corpus
análisis de género
artículos de investigación

How to Cite

Peacock, M. (2015). Stance adverbials in research writing. Ibérica, (29), 35–62. Retrieved from


This paper describes an analysis of eight categories of stance adverbials, for example “definitely” and “usually”, in a corpus of 600 research articles (RAs) across 12 disciplines, six science and six non-science. Stance adverbials may play an important role in the key RA functions of putting forward claims and propositions. However, there has been very little previous research in the area. A new list of stance adverbials was developed and frequency, function and disciplinary variation were examined using WordSmith Tools. Stance adverbials in two categories, Limitation and Doubt and Certainty, were much more prevalent than hitherto suspected. Numerous statistically significant disciplinary differences, for example between the sciences and non-sciences, were also found. A closer examination of science RAs was undertaken. Authors were found to develop claims in a different way, putting greater weight on methods and procedures, while non-science authors tended more towards discursive argument. The techniques of semantic preference, the creation of meaning through multiple occurrences of collocates (Hunston, 2007), were also adopted to further examine function. Conclusions are that stance adverbials play an important role in the construction of stance in RAs, though this differs by discipline. Finally, semantic preference techniques may be a valuable method for corpus-based research

Copyright (c) 2015 Matthew Peacock

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