Hedging in College Research Papers: Implications for Language Instruction
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Maurie Liza M. Nivales
Far Eastern University, Manila, Philippines
Maurie Liza M. Nivales is an Associate professor at Far Eastern University.She finished her Master of Arts in English Language and Literature teaching at the Ateneo de Manila University and is currently taking Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Linguistics at the De La Salle University. Her research interests are in writing, contrastive rhetoric, language learning and teaching, World Englishes, and Sociolinguistics
Commitment and detachment in one s claims are linguistically manifested in the use of hedging and boosting devices. How novice writers show their confidence in or detachment to their proposed ideas has been the focus of analysis in this study that used Kaplan s contrastive rhetoric theory to examine 144 pages of introduction and conclusion sections in the randomly selected research articles of five different courses from both the arts and sciences disciplines investigated. Using Mojica s (2005) and Hyland s (2004) categorization, it was found out that hedges and boosters were almost equally used in the introduction and conclusion sections of the research articles sampled. Writers across all disciplines investigated exhibit preference for type 3 hedging device. Differences in showing commitment and detachment were apparent between the two disciplines: Psychology writers appear to be more detached while mass communication writers seem more committed. The topics of RAs apparently influenced the commitment and detachment of these writers. These findings suggest the need for awareness raising on the usefulness of hedging and boosting devices in mitigating claims despite the seeming sensitivity of the research article topics or its affect on the writers. In the end, these research articles are academic papers that must adhere strictly to writing conventions of impersonality and formality.