Using Corpus Results to Guide the Discourse-Based Interview: A Study of One Student’s Awareness of Stance in Academic Writing in Philosophy
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Abstract

Using Corpus Results to Guide the Discourse-Based Interview: A Study of One Student’s Awareness of Stance in Academic Writing in Philosophy

Lancaster, Z. (2016)
Journal of Writing Research, 8(1), 119-148

Discourse-based interviews (or DBIs) have long been used in writing research to investigate writers’ tacit genre knowledge, including their rhetorical motivations for sentence-level wordings. Meanwhile, researchers in English for Academic and Specific Purposes (EAP/ESP) have used corpus techniques to uncover patterns of such wordings, ones that index community-valued ways of knowing and meaning. This article brings together these two methods in a novel way. By offering a case study of Richard, an advanced undergraduate writer majoring in philosophy at a U.S. university, the article demonstrates how systematic analysis of Richard’s writing informed and enriched DBIs with him and his professor, Maria. Specifically, corpus-based text analysis revealed that Richard regularly expressed an epistemic stance in his course essays in ways that are conventional and valued in philosophical argumentation, while the DBIs revealed that neither Richard nor Maria were consciously aware of these stance patterns, despite regular appearance in both their writing. Taken together, these findings point to the value of using corpus techniques prior to the DBI to identify meaningful choices in language that likely otherwise would be missed. The findings also raise important questions about the acquisition of disciplinary discourses and the sources of knowledge that foster that acquisition.

PDF | doi: 10.17239/jowr-2016.08.01.04

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