“The datasets do not agree”: Negation in research abstracts

Feng Kevin Jiang, Ken Hyland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Few academic genres have received more attention than the research abstract. Its increasing importance, diverse functions and convenient length mean it has been dismembered and dissected by analysts in countless articles. This is a key genre, central to researchers’ reading decisions and therefore to the creation of new knowledge, and as a result writers use a variety of interactive resources to attract readers to the accompanying article. Despite this interest, however, negation has largely escaped EAP scrutiny. This study, therefore, seeks to correct this oversight by examining negation in research abstracts and the extent it contributes to rhetorical persuasion. Drawing on a diachronic corpus of research abstracts, we show how negation contributes to an interpersonal model of academic writing and describe the forms, functions and distribution of negation across time and disciplines. The results not only add to our knowledge of the rhetorical functions of negation but also raise important pedagogical implication for English for Academic Purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-72
Number of pages13
JournalEnglish for Specific Purposes
Early online date6 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

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