Exploring Metadiscourse Markers in Master Thesis Abstracts of TEFL Students: A Case of the University of Mazandaran

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Persian Literature and Foreign Languages, University of Mazandaran, Babolsar, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Persian Literature and Foreign Languages, University of Mazandaran, Babolsar, Iran



 MMetadiscourse as a self-reflective linguistic device plays an important role in both making a coherent academic text and interacting with readers. Using a sequential mixed method design, the present study investigated the use of metadiscourse markers in the abstract section of 70 master thesis abstracts written by Iranian TEFL students at the University of Mazandaran. The study further examined TEFL graduated students’ (n=7) perspectives on the employment of these markers in their thesis abstracts. Based on Hyland’s (2005) model, the interactive and interactional metadiscourse markers were identified in the data. Next, the whole corpus was carefully examined word by word to report on the frequency of metadiscourse marker use. The findings revealed that interactive metadiscourse markers were used three times more than interactional metadiscourse markers. Moreover, transitions and hedges were more frequently employed while evidentials, boosters and self-mentions were less frequently used. Findings from the qualitative data collected through conducting email interviews with graduated TEFL students suggested that they had positive perspectives towards the use of interactive metadiscourse markers in contrast with the use of interactional metadiscourse markers in their thesis abstracts. The results of this study can offer a number of pedagogical implications for explicit instruction of metadiscourse markers in thesis abstracts.


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