Analysing authorial identity construction in the review article genre in Applied Linguistics

Ali Sorayyaei Azar, Azirah Hashim


Authorial identity construction is one of many professional rhetorical strategies employed by authors in academic review genres. Authors usually create a persona to represent themselves, their seniority in the field, and the community to which they belong. The author’s visibility is made possible through several rhetorical devices. Perhaps the most remarkable way of such authorial identity construction in the review article genre is self-mentions. The aims of this research are (1) to find out what types of self-mention are frequently used in review articles, (2) to determine the frequency of use and distribution of self-mentions in the review articles, and (3) to investigate the rhetorical function of self-mentions in the different analytical sections of the review articles. The data, drawn from a randomly selected corpus of thirty-two review articles, were analysed using WordSmith Tools Version 6. The findings indicated that first-person plural pronouns were more frequently used than singular pronouns in the whole corpus except in the two review texts. It was also observed that the frequency of occurrence for the exclusive and inclusive pronouns was very close to each other. Most importantly, the inclusive pronouns were used not only as a politeness strategy to appreciate the readers and keep the writers’ claims balanced but also as a persuasive tool to seek the readers’ agreement in the evaluation of research developments. This study revealed that authors construct various professional personas as a rhetorical strategy to carve their authorial identity and credibility in the review article genre. The findings of this study have pedagogical implications in the field of academic writing in applied linguistics as well as other disciplines. 


authorial identity; metadiscourse; review article; rhetorical strategies; genre stance; self-mention markers

Full Text:



Ädel, A. (2022). Writer and reader visibility in humanities research articles: Variation across language, regional variety and discipline. English for Specific Purposes, 65, 49-62.

Azar, A. S., & Azirah, H. (2014). Towards an analysis of review article in applied linguistics: Its classes, purposes and characteristics. ELT, 7(10), 76-88.

Azar, A. S., & Azirah, H. (2017a). Analysing the macro-organizational structure of the review article genre in applied linguistics. Issues in Language Studies, 6(1), 1- 28.

Azar, A. S., & Azirah, H. (2017b). A genre-based analysis of thematic units in review articles in applied linguistics. ESP World, 53, 1-26.

Azar, A. S., & Azirah, H. (2019). The impact of attitude markers on enhancing evaluation in the review article genre. GEMA Online: Journal of Language Studies, 19(1), 153-173.

Biber, D., & Finegan, E. (1989). Styles of stance in English: Lexical and grammatical marking of evidentiality and affect. Text, 9(1), 93–124.

Bondi, M. (2012). Voice in textbooks: Between exposition and argument. In K. Hyland & C. S. Guinda (Eds.), Stance and voice in written academic genres (pp. 101-115). Palgrave Macmillan.

Chen, R. (2020). Single author self-reference: Identity construction and pragmatic competence. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 45, 203-214.

Crismore, A. (1989). Talking with readers: Metadiscourse as rhetorical act. Peter Lang.

Diani, G. (2009). Reporting and evaluation in English book review articles: A cross-disciplinary study. In K. Hyland & G. Diani (Eds.), Academic evaluation (pp. 87-104). Palgrave Macmillan.

Gosden, H. (1993). Discourse functions of subject in scientific research articles. Applied Linguistics, 14(1), 56-75.

Grant, M. J., & Booth, A. (2009). A typology of reviews: An analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 26(2), 91-108.

Groom, N. (2009). Phraseology and epistemology in academic book reviews: A corpus-driven analysis of two humanities disciplines. In K. Hyland & G. Diani (Eds.), Academic evaluation (pp. 122-139). Palgrave Macmillan.

Harris, Z. S. (1959). The transformational model of language structure. Anthropological Linguistics, 1(1), 27-30.

Harwood, N. (2005a). ‘I hoped to counteract the memory problem, but I made no impact whatsoever’: Discussing methods in computing science using I. English for Specific Purposes, 24, 243-267.

Harwood, N. (2005b). ‘We do not seem to have a theory… The theory I present here attempts to fill this gap’: Inclusive and exclusive pronouns in academic writing. Applied Linguistics, 26(3), 343-375.

Hyland, K. (1994). Hedging in academic writing and EAF textbooks. English for Specific Purposes, 13(3), 239-256.

Hyland, K. (1998). Hedging in scientific research articles. John Benjamins.

Hyland, K. (1999). Disciplinary discourses: Writer stance in research articles. In C. Candlin & K. Hyland (Eds.), Writing: Texts, processes and practices (pp. 99–121). Longman.

Hyland, K. (2000). Disciplinary discourses: Social interactions in academic writing. Longman.

Hyland, K. (2001). Bringing in the reader addressee features in academic articles. Written communication, 18(4), 549-574.

Hyland, K. (2002a). Academic argument: Induction or interaction? Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses, 44, 29-45.

Hyland, K. (2002b). Authority and invisibility: Authorial identity in academic writing. Journal of Pragmatics, 34, 1091-1112.

Hyland, K. (2005a). Metadiscourse. Continuum.

Hyland, K. (2005b). Stance and engagement: A model of interaction in academic discourse. Discourse Studies, 7, 173-192.

Hyland, K. (2008). As can be seen: Lexical bundles and disciplinary variation. English for Specific Purposes, 27(1), 4-21.

Hyland, K. (2010). Community and individuality: Performing identity in applied linguistics. Written Communication, 27(2), 159-188.

Hyland, K. (2011). The presentation of self in scholarly life: Identity and marginalization in academic homepages. English for Specific Purposes, 30(4), 286-297.

Hyland, K., & Jiang, F. K. (2018). “In this paper we suggest”: Changing patterns of disciplinary metadiscourse. English for Specific Purposes, 51, 18–30.

Ivanič, R. (1998). Writing and identity. John Benjamins.

Ivanič, R., & Camps, D. (2001). I am how I sound: Voice as self-representation in L2 writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 10(1-2), 3-33.

Kaplan, R. B. (2002). The Oxford handbook of applied linguistics. Oxford University Press.

Khedri, M. (2016). Are we visible? An interdisciplinary data-based study of self-mention in research articles. Poznan Studies in Contemporary Linguistics, 52, 403-430.

Khedri, M., & Kritsis, K. (2020). How do we make ourselves heard in the writing of a research article? A study of authorial references in four disciplines. Australian Journal of Linguistics, 40(2), 194-217.

Kopple, W. J. V. (1985). Some exploratory discourse on metadiscourse. College Composition and Communication, 36(1), 82–93.

Kuhi, D., & Behnam, B. (2011). Generic variation and metadiscourse use in the writing of applied linguistics: A comparative study and preliminary. Written Communication, 28(1), 97-141.

Kuhi, D., Yavari, M., & Azar, A. S. (2012). Metadiscourse in applied linguistics research articles: A cross-sectional survey. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 3(11), 405-411.

Kuo, C. H. (1999). The use of personal pronouns: Role relationships in scientific journal articles. English for Specific Purposes, 18(2), 121-138.

Kwan, B. S. (2006). The schematic structure of literature reviews in doctoral theses of applied linguistics. English for Specific Purposes, 25(1), 30-55.

Martin, J. R. (2000). Beyond exchange: APPRAISAL in systems in English. In S. Hunston & G. Thompson (Eds.), Evaluation in text: Authorial stance and the construction of discourse (pp. 143–175). Oxford University Press.

Martínez, I. A. (2005). Native and non-native writers’ use of first-person pronouns in the different sections of biology research articles in English. Journal of Second Language Writing, 14(3), 174-190.

Molino, A. (2010). Personal and impersonal authorial references: A contrastive study of English and Italian linguistics research articles. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 9, 86-101.

Moreno, A. I., & Suárez, L. (2008). A study of critical attitude across English and Spanish academic book reviews. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 7(1), 15-26.

Motta-Roth, D. (1995). Rhetorical features and disciplinary cultures: A genre-based study of academic book reviews in Linguistics, Chemistry, and Economics [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina.

Myers, G. (1991). 2 stories and styles in two molecular biology review articles. Applied Linguistics, 10, 1-35.

Noguchi, J. (2006). The science review article: An opportune genre in the construction of science. Peter Lang.

Noguchi, J. (2009). Reviewing science in an information-overloaded world. In K. Hyland & G. Diani (Eds.), Academic evaluation (pp. 34-49). Palgrave Macmillan.

Ridley, D. (2008). The literature review: A step-by-step guide for students. Sage.

Schegloff, E. A. (1990). Interactional troubles in face-to-face survey interviews: Comment. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 85(409), 248-250.

Schmitt, N. (2002). An introduction to applied linguistics. Arnold.

Scott, M. (2012). WordSmith tools 6 [Software package].

Swales, J. (2004). Research genres: Exploration and applications. Cambridge University Press.

Tang, R., & John, S. (1999). The ‘I’ in identity: Exploring writer identity in student academic writing through the first person pronoun. English for Specific Purposes, 18, S23-S39.

Thompson, P. (2009). Literature reviews in applied Ph.D. theses: Evidence and problems. In K. Hyland & G. Diani (Eds.), Academic evaluation (pp. 50-67). Palgrave Macmillan.

Tse, P., & Hyland, K. (2008). ‘Robot Kung fu’: Gender and professional identity in biology and philosophy reviews. Journal of Pragmatics, 40, 1232-1248.

Vassileva, I. (1998). Who am I/who are we in academic writing? A contrastive analysis of authorial presence in English, German, French, Russian and Bulgarian. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 8(2), 163-185.

Vassileva, I. (2000). Who is the author? A contrastive analysis of authorial presence in English, German, French, Russian, and Bulgarian academic discourse. Asgard-Verlag.

Walková, M. (2018). Author’s self-representation in research articles by Anglophone and Slovak linguists. Discourse and Interaction, 11(1), 86-105.

Walková, M. (2019). A three-dimensional model of personal self-mention in research papers. English for Specific Purposes, 53, 60–73.

Wang, J., & Zeng, L. (2021). Disciplinary recognized self-presence: Self-mention used with hedges and boosters in Ph.D. students’ research writing. SAGE Open, 11(2),

Xia, G. (2018). A cross-disciplinary corpus-based study on English and Chinese native speakers’ use of first-person pronouns in academic English writing. Text & Talk, 38, 93-113.


Article Metrics

Abstract view : 0 times
PDF - 0 times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Print ISSN: 2355-2794, Online ISSN: 2461-0275

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

View Journal Stats