Writing with Attitude: A Review of a Corpus-Driven Analysis of Stance Expression in Learner and Professional Dentistry Research Reports


It is universally acknowledged that academia requires certain professional standards when it comes to writing, and because not all disciplines focus on teaching and learning English for Specific Purposes (ESP), some writing pieces do not make sense or create a meaningful purpose for the readers. Medical students, for instance, are a good example of this stated argument, as most of them often lack the proper skills required for academic writing. It is of paramount importance to know how to write proper, academic English since academic writing is mainly offered as a pre-requisite or a ticket to any employment, promotion and/or enculturation to the profession. Little attention has been given to medical research reports as well as stance-making and writing with attitude in the medical prose. Luckily, this paper aims at reviewing an article mainly focusing on the dentistry discipline, and how dentistry undergraduates often struggle whenever it comes to writing in this research genre. The article being reviewed is by Peter Crosthwaite, Lisa Cheung, and Feng (Kevin) Jiang entitled, “Writing with attitude: Stance expression in learner and professional dentistry research reports.” It has been published in the Journal of English for Specific Purposes by Elsevier publications, and was officially available online on March 4th, 2017. Using a corpus-driven approach, this study highlights how both undergraduate students of dentistry and professional practitioners epistemologically and rhetorically display the findings of their written reports and how the meta-discourse used for these functions emphasizes students’ awareness and engagement with disciplinary specificity of writing in dentistry. It explores how writers express themselves and their professional thoughts in their research reports. Such expressions include stance in academic writing, evidentiality, attitude, and presence, as well as more focus on enculturation into the profession; as in English in the dentistry discipline.

Keywords: Corpus Linguistics, English for Specific purposes, contrastive interlanguage analysis, dentistry, learner corpus, review paper, stance expressions

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 22-25 (Download PDF)

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