The winner takes it all: Stance and engagement markers in successful project proposal abstracts funded by ERC

Discourse and Interaction


This paper aims to investigate frequency and distribution patterns of stance and engagement markers across different science fields in European Research Council funded project proposal abstracts. Three science fields analysed using corpus-based quantitative and qualitative methodology are life sciences, physical sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities. A corpus consisting of 90 project proposal abstracts was compiled and each text was examined for stance and engagement markers following Hyland’s (2005b) framework of stance and engagement. The results show that stance markers were used much more frequently than engagement markers in all science fields analysed. However, it was found that compared to writers in social sciences and humanities, authors of life sciences and physical sciences and engineering abstracts tended to use more stance markers which may suggest a greater importance placed on creating a stronger authorial persona. In social sciences and humanities abstracts, on the other hand, engagement markers were more frequent than in the other two fields, which may imply that their texts are slightly more reader focused. The results of the study shed light on competitive funding discourse which is still scarcely researched, as well as reveal strategies and techniques used to create effective scientific discourse.

stance, engagement, competitive research funding, project proposal abstracts, European Research Council, cross-disciplinary study
Author biographies

Jolanta Sinkuniene

Jolanta Šinkūnienė is Professor of Linguistics at the Faculty of Philology, Vilnius University, Lithuania. Her research interests focus on research writing patterns and epistemological traditions of various disciplines and cultures,
academic rhetoric, elements of persuasion in academic discourse, researchpublication practices, evaluation of research, and academic identity aspects.

Augustinas Melinskas

Augustinas Mėlinskas is currently an MA student of English Studies at Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania. His research interests include corpus linguistics, discourse analysis, and English for Academic Purposes.


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