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A concordance-based study of the use of reporting verbs as rhetorical devices in academic papers

Author(s): Joel Bloch

Journal: Journal of Writing Research
ISSN 2030-1006

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 219;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: reporting verbs | concordancing | L2 composition | pedagogical grammar | rhetoric | authorship | copora

This research examines the use of concordancing to create materials for teaching about the role of reporting verbs in academic papers. The appropriate use of reporting verbs is crucial both in establishing the writer’s own claims and situating these claims within previously published research. The paper uses a sample of articles from Science, a leading journal in the scientific community, to create two small corpora. Based on the frequency ranking of 27 examples of reporting verbs, a sample of 540 sentences was chosen for more careful analysis. For each reporting verb in this sample, a randomized sample of sentences was drawn. In addition, a third corpus was created from student papers to compare the student use of reporting verbs to that of published writers. Each sentence in the randomized sample was coded into six possible categories that were based on syntactic form and rhetorical purpose. An analysis of these categories is presented in the second part of this paper. The results of this research were used to design a database of sentences that could be used to create teaching materials for an academic writing course and also be accessed through the Internet (Bloch, 2009).

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