Responding to supervisory feedback: Mediated positioning in thesis writing

Yan (Olivia) Zhang, Ken Hyland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


The process of responding to supervisory feedback requires student writers to position themselves toward both the provider and content of that feedback, indicating their stance in the interaction and their evolving disciplinary competence. How positionings are discursively shaped, developed, and enacted to influence thesis revisions, however, has been relatively unexplored. In this article, we trace how two master’s students construct their positions in supervisory interactions and in the subsequent revisions of their literature review drafts. Through discourse and intertextual analyses, we propose three dimensions of interpersonal positioning (cooperative, self-assertive, explorative) that are co-constructed to reinforce local supervisory cooperation and modify conceptualizations of the research work. We highlight scaffolded, responsive, and reflexive types as concrete expressions of mediated positioning which help regulate the ways students orientate to their writing and their discipline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-199
Number of pages29
JournalWritten Communication
Issue number2
Early online date1 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • L2 writers
  • positioning
  • revision
  • supervisory feedback
  • thesis writing

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