The need for stance expression and making the position of the writers clear about what they are reporting is well documented in the literature (Biber, 2006; Kelly & Bazerman, 2003; Hyland, 2005; 2008; Molino, 2010; Myers, 1989; Williams, 2006). Even hard knowledge disciplines that were traditionally expected to sound objective and detached employ stance projection strategies by which researchers express their opinions, degree of certainty or ownership of the different claims that are stated in their work (Harwood, 2005 ; Hyland, 2005). Authors of research who are writing in English as their second language (L2) are reported to find difficulty in making their voice heard in their research articles (RAs) (Flowerdew, 2001). Differences in the frequency and the accuracy of using stance markers in RAs written by L2 writers of research and native speakers (NSs) have been detected in numerous studies (Hendersson & Barr, 2010; Hyland, 2002; Jafarpour & Taki, 2012; Maurannen, 1993 ; Molino, 2010 ; Orta, 2010). Meeting the needs of almost 30% of research producers at Cairo University, this study detects the differences between stance markers in Egyptian RAs compared to internationally published RAs in the field of medicine. Differences are diagnosed and patterns of the “acceptable" use of stance markers are listed in order to help Egyptian doctors write more professionally and gain acceptance in international publishing. In this corpus-based study, 47 RAs published in local Egyptian medical journals representing different medical schools and institutions across the country were examined and compared to the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA). The use of direct self-reference using first person pronouns I, me, my, we us and our compared to the more impersonal “it"‚ "that" structure was examined in both corpora. The study showed a tendency in the Egyptian RAs to sound more distant and cautious. The use of first person pronouns in Egyptian RAs was generally less frequent. Egyptian medical researchers avoided using the singular first person pronoun in their RAs but they sometimes directly referred to themselves when they wrote in a group. Egyptian researchers also showed higher frequency of the more mitigated and impersonal structures such as “it", "that" structures, the passive structure and doubt adverbs. On the other hand, Egyptian researchers showed awareness with the preferred verb tenses collocating with the first person pronoun we as well as an awareness of the different structures of the “it", "that" structures despite its complexity. The Egyptian Medical Research Articles corpus (EMRA) showed a lack of variety in some of the lexical collocates of the first person pronouns as well as “it", "that" structures.

Degree Name

MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Graduation Date


Submission Date

June 2013

First Advisor

Agameya, Amira

Committee Member 1

Fredricks, Lori


122 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

English language -- Study and teaching -- Egypt.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

English language -- Writing.


The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Dr. Amira Agameya for her valuable and constructive suggestions before and during the planning and development of this research work. Her willingness to give her time so generously has been very much appreciated. I would also like to thank her for being so keen to keep my progress on schedule. Dr. Amira, no words of gratitude can express how I feel. Working with you not only enriched my knowledge, but it also taught me how I should be with my future students. I am also very thankful to Dr. Lori Fredricks whose feedback has enriched my study, starting from the feasibility stage. Your boosting words and encouraging feedback have always motivated me to work harder, hoping to meet your expectations. Your time and effort is really appreciated. I am also grateful to Dr. Marilyne Plumlee for her remarks on my several drafts. It is to her credit that my thesis is out in a neat form. I would like to express my deep gratitude to Pr. Dee Boraie for helping me getting my feasibility paper accomplished. I cannot imagine myself writing a piece of research without her guidance. Dr. Dee, what you have taught me will remain for the years to come, and I shall be always grateful. I would also like to sincerely thank Dr. Atta Gebril for his very helpful suggestions concerning the research design. The meticulous details that he directed my attention to rendered this study to be a well designed piece of research. Special thanks are extended to Dr. Robert Williams for his helpful feedback in the feasibility stage which taught me to be a cautious researcher. I would like to extend my thanks to Ahmed Awwaad who helped me a lot with the material that helped me start my research, and the rest of my colleagues in the Proposal Writing course, Wessam Ibraheem, Rebecca Jones, Omar Abouelazm and Ghada Ghobara. Your feedback on my presentations helped me shape my thesis and I definitely learned from each one of you. Special thanks go to Saliha Arseven whose moral support in the times when I felt down kept me on track. I was lucky to have such a supportive colleague. Filly, I wish to thank my parents for their support and encouragement throughout my study, especially my unique father and patron, Ahmad Seleem and my wonderful mother, Amani Farag, who has been such a nice and caring grandmother during my absence for classes. I wish also to express my special thanks to my dear husband, Khaled Badawi, for being such an understanding and an encouraging husband, and for bearing with me throughout my MA years.