Experts’ and students’ recontextualisations of scientific research for a more general audience

How to Cite

Parkinson, J., & Yin, Z. (2023). Experts’ and students’ recontextualisations of scientific research for a more general audience. Ibérica, (45), 48–77.


Informing and engaging the public in new scientific findings is becoming
increasingly important. Graduate students are thus encouraged to develop skill
in writing for an audience beyond their discipline. This article concerns writing
by master’s biology students of an assignment-type modelled on News and
Views articles. Published News and Views articles, which are written by experts,
summarise and critique a newly published study for the wider scientific
community. To be convincing, academic writers must project an authoritative
stance towards their topic and developing this ability is important for
postgraduate students. They also need to be skilled at engaging readers, taking
account of their readers’ prior knowledge and their readers’ need for recognition
as disciplinary members. Using Hyland’s (2018) model of interactional
metadiscourse, this article compares a corpus of 30 News and Views
assignments by master’s biology students with 55 biology News and Views
articles written by experts. We found that experts were skilled at using stance
resources to project an authoritative identity, while students hesitated to
explicitly include themselves in their writing; students’ use of stance resources
also reflected the limited nature of their topic knowledge. Students
used engagement resources to include readers in the text, but
some misjudged the audience and wrote for a broader, less knowledgeable
audience. Suggestions are made for using these findings to guide
students in expressing an authoritative stance and engaging their audience.

Copyright (c) 2023 Jean Parkinson

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


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