The Use of Hedging in Discussion Sections of Applied Linguistics Research Articles with Varied Research Methods

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Department of Foreign Languages Kharazmi University

2 Kharazmi University


The discourse of the discussion in research articles is regarded to be of considerable significance—as in this section the findings are interpreted in light of previous research and the authors’ argumentations are put forward as a major contribution (see Hyland, 1999). For this reason, the content and structure of the discussion section have been explored in several studies; however, little attention has been focused on a comparative analysis of how hedges are used in the discussion sections of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods studies. To address this gap, the present study explored the use of hedges in 150 applied linguistics articles (50 qualitative, 50 quantitative, and 50 mixed methods studies). To this end, the study investigated forms and pragmatic functions of the hedges in the discussion sections, utilizing Varttala’s (2001) and Hyland’s (1998) models. The data were analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively through use of rigorous coding and memoing strategies. The results of the study indicated that hedging forms in the discussion sections of quantitative applied linguistics articles had the highest frequency, followed by mixed methods studies and qualitative articles, respectively. Also, full verbs, auxiliaries, and adverbs were the most frequent categories of hedging; moreover, the results of Chi square test proved the significance of observed differences. The findings demonstrated that mixed methods studies tended to show similarities with quantitative articles regarding the use of hedging strategies. The results are interpreted in relation to the nature of each research method.


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