Self-mention Markers and their Rhetorical Functions in Dentistry Research Articles: A Corpus-based Study of Intradisciplinary Variations within Seven Dentistry Subdisciplines

Hesham Suleiman Alyousef, Najd Emad Q. Alotaibi


Research on intradisciplinary variations in self-mention marker use in research articles (RAs) in dentistry subdisciplines is lacking. The present study investigates self-mention markers used in each of the seven dentistry subdisciplines (oral sciences, periodontics, endodontics, pediatrics, prosthodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, and orthodontics), sections of RAs that employ more self-mention devices in each of the seven dentistry subdisciplines, and common rhetorical realizations of first-person pronouns in the seven dentistry subdisciplines. The analytical framework was primarily based on Hyland’s (2003) four rhetorical functions of self-mentions in RAs. The findings showed the lack of qualitative and quantitative intradisciplinary variations across six of the seven dentistry subdisciplines. The first-person plural pronouns “we” and “our” were the most frequently employed self-mention devices in the Discussion section of RAs. Authors in the periodontics subdiscipline preferred to retain an objective stance through the use of passive constructions, abiding by the conventional norms of academic writing that restrict them. The findings also revealed that explaining a procedure and stating findings/claims were the most frequent realizations associated with the use of self-mention devices, with the exception of periodontics RAs that employed passive constructions instead. The findings contribute to the fields of discourse and genre studies as well as ESP/EAP courses. They may have implications for dentistry RA writing and teaching. An awareness of more frequently used self-mentions in dentistry RAs and their rhetorical functions can help English dentistry scholars successfully produce RAs in line with the academic writing norms of each subdiscipline.


Self-mention Markers, Rhetorical Move, Dentistry Research Articles, Academic Writing, Intradisciplinary Qualitative/ Quantitative Variations, Dentistry Subdisciplines

Full Text:



Afsari, S., & Kuhi, D. (2016). A functional investigation of self-mention in soft science master theses. The

Journal of Applied Linguistics, 9(18), 49–64.

Behnam, B., Mirzapour, F., & Mozaheb, M. A. (2014). Writer’s presence in English native and non-native

speaker research articles. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 98(6), 369–374. doi:

Biber, D., Johansson, S., Leech, G., Conrad, S., & Finegan, E. (1999). Longman grammar of spoken and written

English. London: Longman.

Dobakhti, L., & Hassan, N. (2017). A corpus-based study of writer identity in qualitative and quantitative

research articles. 3L: The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies, 23(1), 1–14. doi:

Harwood, N. (2005). “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. doi:

Hryniuk, K. (2018). Expressing authorial self in research articles written by Polish and English native-speaker

writers: A corpus-based study. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 8(3), 621–642. doi:

Hyland, K. (2001). Humble servants of the discipline? Self-mention in research articles. English for Specific

Purposes, 20(3), 207–226. doi:

Hyland, K. (2002). Authority and invisibility: Authorial identity in academic writing. Journal of Pragmatics,

(8), 1091–1112. doi:

Hyland, K. (2003). Self-citation and self-reference: Credibility and promotion in academic publication. Journal

of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 54(3), 251–259. doi:

Hyland, K. (2005a). Patterns of engagement: Dialogic features and L2 undergraduate writing. In L. Ravelli & R.

Ellis (Eds.), Analysing Academic Writing: Contextualized Frameworks (pp. 5–23). London: Continuum.

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

(2), 173–192. doi:

Ivanič, R. (1994). I is for interpersonal: Discoursal construction of writer identities and the teaching of writing.

Linguistics and Education, 6(1), 3–15. doi:

Ivanič, R. (1998). Writing and identity: The discoursal construction of identity in academic writing. Amsterdam:

John Benjamins.

Khedri, M. (2016). Are we visible? An interdisciplinary data-based study of self-mention in research articles.

Poznan Studies in Contemporary Linguistics, 52(3), 403–430. doi:

Kuo, C.-H. (1999). The use of personal pronouns: Role relationships in scientific journal articles. English for

Specific Purposes, 18(2), 121–138. doi:

McGrath, L. (2016). Self-mentions in anthropology and history research articles: Variation between and within

disciplines. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 21, 86–98. doi:

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(2), 86–101. doi:

Salas, M. D. (2015). Reflexive metadiscourse in research articles in Spanish: Variation across three disciplines

(linguistics, economics, and medicine). Journal of Pragmatics, 77, 20–40. doi:

Wu, G., & Zhu, Y. (2014). Self-mention and authorial identity construction in English and Chinese research

articles: A contrastive study. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 10(2), 133–158.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

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

2010-2020 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.