Aspects of personal style in research article discussion
sections in Spanish and English medical journals

METM 06, Barcelona
27-28 October 2006

Ian Williams
Saturday 28, 10:20-11:30, Room 2

This paper examines the expression of personal style in the discussion sections of Spanish and English research articles, namely, the use of integral references in citations (i.e. with named researchers), the frequency of general nouns referring to researchers (e.g. ‘authors’ autores), and the presence of the current authors through first-person plural verb forms. These features are analyzed in terms of overall frequency, lexico-grammatical characteristics and the communicative roles associated with them. The main roles of integral citations are to provide background information on aspects of study design, comparison of results between current and previous research, and support for claims. In addition to comparison of results, first person references can appear in the justification of methodological choices, statement of results, limitations and claims. The study investigates the use of corpus techniques to reveal systematic differences between the styles employed in the two languages.

Ian A. Williams, University of Cantabria, Santander, Spain.