‘Our striking results demonstrate …’: Persuasion and the growth of academic hype

Ken Hyland, Feng Kevin Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Academics today are working in a time of intense pressure in research publishing, with greater expectations, more explicit incentives and fiercer competition than ever before. In this paper we explore whether this has led authors to rhetorically ‘sell’ or ‘hype’ their studies. Based on a corpus of 360 articles in leading journals in four disciplines at three periods over the past 50 years, we trace the use of 400 ‘hyping’ words which seek to promote, embellish or exaggerate aspects of research papers. Our results show a massive increase in these items with twice as many hypes in every paper. We also show that increases are most marked in the hard sciences and that hyping displays a greater willingness by authors to display positive attitude, underline their contribution and to hype research primacy, methods and the author’s prior research. We discuss these findings in the context of current career pressures on academics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-202
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Early online date21 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • Academic rhetoric
  • Academic writing
  • Attitude markers
  • Boosters
  • Hype
  • Research articles

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