Academic Ghostwriting — Academic Writing

Successful academic writing in English incorporates an awareness of audience as well, including politeness, reference to shared knowledge, status, and positioning of readers by intriguing them to see things in writer’s eye. On the one hand, this interaction is made through intruding writer’s personal belief and authority onto argument, on the other hand, writer constructs readers through presuppositions of their knowledge and beliefs.

In regard to appealing to the reader, writers use two main rhetorical purposes, such as the need to meet readers’ expectations of inclusion and to recognize the reader’s role as a critic. Firstly, readers are addressed as participants in an argument with inclusive and effect interpersonal solidarity and membership of a disciplinary in group. Secondly, the writer pulls the audience into the discourse at critical points, in order to direct them to particular interpretations with questions by predicting claims through shared knowledge. In a word, the use of these features reflects the writer’s ability not only to leave a message to readers, but also present interpersonal tone.

Personal pronouns play an important role in bringing readers into the text as discourse participants, most commonly used is we. Second person you and your  are used rarely, as writers avoid linking readers and writers as members of the same disciplinary community. Furthermore, the usage of personal pronouns is a feature of academic argument in the soft fields. It is known that all writing needs to solicit reader collusion. However, there are some disciplines, like the social sciences and humanities rely on interpretative framework. Because these fields deal with diverse research outcomes and less predictable vagaries. Readers are drawn there as participants in a dialogue than in sciences.

Person markers refer explicitly to the author(s). Because editorials present the newspaper’s position, one might expect them to contain a number of person markers. Le Monde’s editorials are anonymous. To indicate that they speak in their name only, Le Monde’s editorialists use either ‘nous’, ‘on’, or direct questions. The corpus does not contain so much as one instance ofthe first person singular. It is interesting to note that in the 41 non-attributed editorials that were published by The New York Times on Russia from August 1999 to July 2001 (i.e. a longer time span than for the present corpus), ‘we’ is not used a single time to represent the newspaper’s journalists (nor is ‘I’ used).

Nous sometimes represents a collective speaker, Le Monde’s journalists. The context determines whether nous stands for Le Monde alone, as nous represents the authors of journalistic work.

On represents Le Monde when the newspaper is the one who accomplishes the action it says on is doing. This is indicated in the co-text. In this use of the indefinite on, Le Monde disappears somewhat among all of those who perform the action. Thus, it appears less ‘aggressive’ towards its readers, where Le Monde recalls one of the sources of today’s disappointment, but hides behind the anonymity of on to do so.

The most common devices used to highlight reader participation in academic writing are directives. They are tools that help readers to see things in a way apprehended by the writer. This strategy introduces the reader into the text to move him in a particular direction, for example, focusing attention or underlining some significant points. In addition, the usage of questions can be helpful to attract readers’ attention to important things in the text. Although they have not got great attention in academic texts, they can be replaced by indirect questions and establish a niche according to Swales.

Matsuda and Tardy’s investigations concerning the role of voice in academic writing plays a key role. As to their research, voice plays a role in such writing and there is abundant evidence of it. In the article in English for Specific Purposes, Paul Matsuda and Christine Tardy revisit the issue of authorial voice, as it is believed to be vital in academic writing. However, some new writers in the studies of Helm-Park and Stapleton disagree on this point, as they prefer to ignore voice in such writing. According to Stapleton, voice is an important part of writing and communicating, and aspects of it are essential at the higher levels of academic writing where authors are aiming to publish. However, the great emphasis that it has been accorded, as assumed by the number of published works in the L2 writing field, appears to be disproportionate in relation to other aspects of writing, particularly the content contained within, and therefore unwarranted. However, Matsuda and Tardy express their argument on this definition and give their own definition of voice. But it is believed that in their studies there is lack of an instrument for regulating data selection and coding, compounded by the cognitive biases that arise when participants are allocated their roles. In other words, these researchers are exaggerating if they think their critiques are scrutinized.

In fact, Matsuda and Tardy claim that their studies do not emphasize any identical implications, but their study made in 2003 was largely motivated by the plight of EAP instructors with writing students from various disciplines that strongly prescribe the use o avoidance of active or passive voice or mitigating modals. Anyway, it is well-known that a piece of writing does not develop some image of  its author even if this image is counterfactual.

Summing up, everything depends on how voice is defined and how its relevance is measured and interpreted though it has already been mentioned that Stapleton expressed skepticism over the importance of voice in academic writing and sought to demonstrate its irrelevance to academic writing. Because the notion has been variously defined, any discussion of voice has to be based on a careful and consistent definition of voice. One of the strongest and most-frequently cited proponents of the notion.

Despite the diverse meanings of voice, each of which holds implications for various types of writing, the notion has often been associated almost exclusively with individual or personal quality in writing. Caught in the dichotomy between personal writing and academic writing, the notion of voice has often been relegated to the realm of personal and individual, whereas academic writing has been characterized as relatively impersonal—if not objective or neutral—and therefore voiceless.

Importantly, both the process of evaluating academic writing and constructing voice are likely to draw upon discursive and non-discursive features that are marked in the readers’ eyes. Therefore, while we might expect an audience of disciplinary peers to share some expectations for a text, we would expect individual readers to construct voice of a single author in divergent ways as well.

Various discursive and non-discursive features, and by extension, voice, are therefore read in both shared and unique ways by readers who are members of a discipline (or multiple disciplines) and also individuals with distinct personal histories and social relations.  It may be useful to consider the development of voice as one strand of the complicated process of discourse acquisition. As writers are socialized into disciplinary ways of doing, they develop a sense of the expectations that readers bring to a text. With this increased knowledge, writers are better able to make purposeful choices in the extent to which they conform or deviate from standards and how they choose to do so. Over time, writers learn to enact and exploit disciplinary genres for multiple agendas, and, importantly, learn how their textual choices may be received and perceived by others.

What matters here is metadiscourse plays some essential role in academic texts. As it is common knowledge that metadiscourse is indeed ‘central’ to the interpretation of texts; as Hyland points out, it is culture – as well as profession-specific. But unless one provides a proper pragmatic framework for such claims, they merely represent a collection of more or less interesting views on the pragmatics of metadiscourse, while failing to provide a coherent overall account of its essential contribution to the interpretation process.

One problem for Swales is that he has to treat connectives such as therefore, or word glosses (x means y), as less likely to function as metadiscourse elements than do expressions such as ‘we have now discussed . . .’, ‘it is unfortunate that . . .’, ‘readers might wish to . . .’, etc. (ibid.). A possible solution is to treat ‘metadiscourse’ as a fuzzy, or prototypical, term rather than a properly theoretical one. Other writings on metadiscourse see metadiscourse elements as including a wide variety of lexical items, such as: discourse connectives but, therefore, so; adverbs presumably, obviously, interestingly; modals might, possible; speech-act verbs suppose, claim, assume, suggest; mental-state verbs think, consider, believe, doubt; personal pronouns I, we, my, their; text developers namely, for example, in other words, first, next, etc.

Turning to definitions, Vande Kopple indicates that metadiscourse has been standardly viewed as discourse which goes beyond and above the actual content of the basic propositional information being presented, indicating to readers how they may ‘‘organize, classify, interpret, evaluate, and react’’ to information presented in the text. In Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace, a work on rhetoric and composition, Williams viewed metadiscourse as a stylistic device which in semantic terms is external to the propositional content of the discourse and in pragmatic terms is an aid to interpretation of the discourse .

Moreover, the pragmatic literature deals only briefly with the problem of metadiscourse, focusing mainly on its role in facilitating the interpretation of the propositional information conveyed. The type of role that metadiscourse has been accorded so far by pragmatics is summed up by Fuertes-Olivera et al. He points out the fact that metadiscourse allows us to see how writers seek to influence readers’ understanding of both their attitude towards the content and the audience. In his opinion, in a pragmatic sense, people use language to achieve their specific purposes in accordance with two basic principles: cooperation and least effort. So, in this case metadiscourse is essential, because it helps to organize word(s) as a coherent text and conveys a writer’s personality, credibility, reader sensitivity and relationship to the message. Futhermore, metadiscourse is thought to be not an independent stylistic device which authors can vary at will. It is integral to the contexts in which it occurs and is intimately linked to the norms and expectations of particular cultural and professional communities’’. This point was indicated by Hyland. In other words, focusing on the words of Fuertes-Olivera et al, to understand the pragmatics of metadiscourse we must situate it in its appropriate setting and genre.

Both academic texts and editorials aim to transmit ‘knowledge’. As it is quoted in Hyland, knowledge is ‘‘social justification of belief ’’, it is constructed through interactions between authors and readers, but for each genre, it is a matter of a different type of knowledge. One (in academic texts) claims to be objective, and therefore needs to be presented in impersonal terms despite its necessary reliance on the audience’s participation in the construction of knowledge. The other (in editorials) is eminently subjective (it is the newspaper’s position), and thus may need to appear established on objective bases in order to be accepted by a wider group of people. This fundamental difference in the function of academic texts and editorials seems to explain in great part variations in metadiscourse use. Furthermore, another reason for these variations might come from the difference of audience between both genres. Academic texts are intended for a relatively homogeneous audience in terms of knowledge, interest, and active participation in the field, while editorials are read by a vast array of readers, whose knowledge, interest, and possibility of active participation in the field differ widely.

The last but not the least significant point to assume is interaction in written text.  Scientist Tompson and Thetela distinguish two main types of interaction in the written text. The first is related to awareness of the audience’s reactions and attitudes, which are accepted as interactive, because they involve the management of the information and guide readers through the content of the text. The second one is termed interactional, that aim to involve readers in the argument of the text. Clearly, they allow writers to conduct more or less overt interaction with the audience, appearing in the text comments or evaluations of the content through the use of modality and assigning speech roles.  To add to these, it is worth noting that the importance of the interactional perspective is that it highlights the possibility of seeing the text not just as constructed with the readers’ needs in mind, but as jointly constructed, with communicative space being left for the readers to contribute to the achievement of the text’s goals.  This means that readers point of view is taken into account, but collaboration is a two-way process, and the readers are challenged to participate in the interaction and to collaborate back, accepting the roles, arguments attributed to them.

In conclusion, academic writing supposes active role of readers and engages the audience. Writing is considered to be a social act, and every successful text must display its writer’s ability to engage suitably with his audience.

Typical patterns of these features provide individual factors, such as experience, confidence, and professional rank. There is an evidence to the importance of the use of these features in the works of the researchers, like Matsuda and Tardy, Vande Kopple, Stapleton and others. All of these scientists tried to clarify the importance of these very elements in academic texts and how they influence on the readers points of view on the issue and on their attitude to the writers’ argument.

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