Investigating Researcher Identity in Qualitative Research Articles in Applied Linguistics Journals Through the Lens of CDA

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Literature, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Literature, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran


Recently, constructing professional identity has received an increasing attention. By adopting and adapting analytical tools of critical discourse analysis (CDA), this study explored the ways through which identities of the qualitative researchers had been projected in 4 applied linguistics articles. This study intended to find out whether the authors of qualitative research articles in applied linguistics tended to prioritize particular linguistic elements in representing their identities. Detailed descriptive analyses based on 4 CDA and discourse analysis taxonomies revealed that the qualitative researchers had a particular pattern to show human and nonhuman social actors in their writings. Human social actors (teachers and learners) were preferred to nonhuman social actors (textbooks), and teachers were the focus of attention more frequently than learners. Also, human social actors were considered as individuals, rather than groups in the majority of cases. In addition, mental processes were found to be employed more than material processes in order to contribute to the subjective interpretation and greater visibility for the researchers. Although the linguistic devices which help human social actors to be seen more vividly like inclusion and activation were used more than other devices, elements like transition, self-mentions, hedges, and code glosses were also employed. Findings may be considered useful for teachers and educators and may help them become more self-conscious about identity issues embedded in research articles.  


Adler, P. S. (1982). Beyond cultural identity: Reflections on cultural and multicultural man. In L. Samovar & R. Porter (Eds.), Intercultural communication: A reader (pp. 389-408). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishers.
Anthony, L. (2013). A critical look at software tools in corpus linguistics. Linguistic Research, 30(2), 141-161.
Beijaard, D., Meijer, P. C., & Verloop, N. (2004). Reconsidering research on teachers’ professional identity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20, 107-128.
Block, D. (2006a). Multilingual identities in a global city: London stories. London: Palgrave.
Block, D. (2006b). Identity in applied linguistics: Where are we? In T. Omoniyi & G. White (Eds.), The sociolinguistics of identity (pp. 34-49). London: Continuum. 
Breivega, K. R., Dahl, T., & Fløttum, K. (2002). Traces of self and others in research articles. A comparative pilot study of English, French and Norwegian research articles in medicine, economics, and linguistics. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 12(2), 218-239.
Bunton, D. (1999). The use of higher level metatext in Ph.D. theses. English for Specific Purposes, 18, 41-56.
Charles, M., Pecorari, D., & Hunston, S. (2009). Academic writing: At the interface of corpus and discourse. London: Continuum.
Coldron, J., & Smith, R. (1999). Active location in teachers’ construction of their professional identities. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 31(6), 711-726.
de Wever, B., Schellens, T., Valcke M., & van Keer, H. (2006). Content analysis schemes to analyze transcripts of online asynchronous discussion groups: A review. Computers & Education, 46, 6-28.
Dörnyei, Z. (2007). Research methods in applied linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Duff, P. A., & Uchida, Y. (1997). The negotiation of teachers’ sociocultural identities and practices in postsecondary EFL classrooms. TESOL Quarterly, 31(3), 451-86.
Farhady, H., Jafarpour, A., & Birjandi, P. (1994). Testing language skills: From theory to practice. Tehran: SAMT.
Foster, M. (1992). Sociolinguistics and African-American community: Implications for literacy. Theory into Practice, 31(4), 303-311.
Gao, Y., & Wen, Q. (2009). Corresponsibility in the dialogical coconstruction of academic discourse. TESOL Quarterly, 43(4), 700-703.
Gee, J. P. (1992). The social mind: Language, ideology, and social practice. New York: Bergin & Garvey.
Gee, J. P. (2000). Teenagers in new times: A new literacy studies perspective. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 43, 412-420.
Gee, J. P. (2014). How to do discourse analysis: A toolkit (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.
Geijsel, F., & Meijers, F. (2005). Identity learning: The core process of educational change. Educational Studies, 31(4), 419-430.
Gwet, K. L. (2010). Handbook of interrater reliability: The definitive guide to measuring the extent of agreement among raters (2nd ed.). Gaithersburg: Advanced Analytics, LLC.
Hall, S. (1996). Introduction: Who needs ‘identity’? In S. Hall & P. du Gay (Eds.), Questions of cultural identity (pp. 3-17). London: Sage.
Halliday, M.A.K. (1989). Spoken and written language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Halliday, M. A. K., & Matthiessen, M. I. M. (2004). An introduction to functional grammar. London: Edward Arnold.
Hamilton, M., Barton, D., & Ivanič, R. (1994). Worlds of literacy. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Hooti, N., & Mahmoudi, Y. (2013). Identity discordianism under the trepidation and duplicity of human essence: A trenchant investigation on Luigi Pirandello’s War. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 3(7), 1209-1213.
Hyland, K. (1996). Writing without conviction? Hedging in science research articles. Applied Linguistics, 17(4), 433-454.
Hyland, K. (1998). Hedging in scientific research articles. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Hyland, K. (1999). Disciplinary discourses: Writer stance in research articles. In C. N. Candlin & K. Hyland (Eds.), Writing: Texts, processes, and practices (pp. 99-121). London: Longman.
Hyland, K. (2000). Disciplinary discourses: Social interaction in academic writing. London: Longman.
Hyland, K. (2001a). Bringing in the reader: Addressee features in academic writing. Written Communication, 18, 549-574.
Hyland, K. (2001b). Humble servants of the discipline? Self-mention in research articles. English for Specific Purposes, 20, 207-226.
Hyland, K. (2002a). What do they mean? Questions in academic writing. Text, 22, 529-557.
Hyland, K. (2002b). Directives: Power and engagement in academic writing. Applied Linguistics, 23, 215-239.
Hyland, K. (2004). Disciplinary interaction: Metadiscourse in L2 postgraduate writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 13, 133-151.
Hyland, K. (2005). Stance and engagement: A model of interaction in academic discourse. Discourse Studies, 7(2), 173-191.
Hyland, K. (2010). Community and individuality: Performing identity in Applied Linguistics. Written Communication, 27, 159-188.
Hyland, K. (2011). Projecting an academic identity in some reflective genres. Ibérica, 21, 9-30.
Ivanič, R. (1998). Writing and identity: The discoursal construction of identity in academic writing. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Jackson, J. (2008). Language, identity and study abroad: Sociocultural perspectives. London: Equinox.
Jenkins, J. (2007). English as a lingua franca: Attitude and identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kanno, Y. (2003). Negotiating bilingual and bicultural identities: Japanese returnees betwixt two worlds. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Kaplan, A., & Flum, H. (2012). Identity formation in educational settings: A critical focus for education in the 21st century. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 37, 171-175.
Karahan, P. (2013). Self-mention in scientific articles written by Turkish and non-Turkish authors. Procedia, 70, 305-322.
Liamas, C., & Watt, D. (2010). Language and identities. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Lillis, T. (2011). Legitimizing dialogue as textual and ideological goal in academic writing for assessment and publication. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 10(4), 401-432.
Lafuente Millán, E. (2010). ‘Extending this claim, we propose . . .’: The writer’s presence in research articles from different disciplines. Ibérica, 20, 35-56.
Malmakjar, K. (Ed.). (2004). The linguistic encyclopedia. London: Routledge.
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.
Norton, B. (2000). Identity and language learning: Gender, ethnicity, and educational change. Harlow: Pearson Education.
Norton, B., & Early, M. (2011). Researcher identity, narrative inquiry, and language teaching research. TESOL Quarterly, 45(3), 415-439.
Omoniyi, T., & White, G. (2006). The sociolinguistics of identity. London: Continuum.
Pennycook, A. (1994). The cultural politics of English as an international language. London: Longman.
Pope, C., & Mays, N. (1995). Qualitative research: Reaching the parts other methods cannot reach: An introduction to qualitative methods in health and health services research. British Medical Journal, 311, 42-45.
Riley, P. (2007). Language, society, and identity. London: Continuum.
Rogers, R. (Ed.). (2004). An introduction to critical discourse analysis in education. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Rosaldo, M. (1984). Toward an anthropology of self and feeling. In R. Shweder & R. LeVine (Eds.), Culture theory (pp. 137-157). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sahragard, R., & Davatgarzadeh, G. (2010). The representation of social actors in interchange third edition series: A critical discourse analysis. Journal of Teaching Language Skills, 2(3), 67-89.
Smeby, J. C. (2007). Connecting to professional knowledge. Studies in Higher Education, 32(2), 207-224.
Tang, R., & John, S. (1999). The “I” in identity: Exploring identity in student academic writing through the first person pronoun. English for Specific Purposes, 18(Supplement 1), S23-S39.
Tse, P., & Hyland, K. (2010). Claiming a territory: Relative clauses in journal descriptions. Journal of Pragmatics, 42, 1880-1889.
Thompson, G. (2001). Interaction in academic writing: Learning to argue with the reader. Applied Linguistics, 22, 58-78.
van Leeuwen, T. (1996). The representation of social actors in discourse. In C. R. Caldas Coulthard & M. Coulthard (Eds.), Text and practices: Reading in critical discourse analysis (pp. 32-70). London and New York: Routledge.
van Leeuwen, T. (2008). Discourse and practice: New tools for critical discourse analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Virkkula, T., & Nikula, T. (2010). Identity construction in EFL contexts: A case study of Finnish engineering students working in Germany. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 20(2), 251-273.
Yen, Y. (2000). Identity issues in EFL and ESL textbooks: A sociocultural perspective. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The Ohio State University, Ohio, U.S.A.