Dialogic Positioning in Literature Reviews of Masters' Theses

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A cross-disciplinary study of MPhil Thesis in Ghana

Following insights from disciplinary variation studies on writer’s positioning and stance, there has been an interest in analyzing how academics engage in an academic interaction with their putative readers, by either fending off alternative views from their readers or allowing for the inclusion of their views.

Using the engagement system of the appraisal theory propounded by Martin and White (2005) in analyzing 45 purposively sampled M.Phil.

theses submitted to the departments of Linguistics, Geography and Resource Development and Nutrition and Food Science of the University of Ghana, the study examined the various engagement resources used by M.Phil.

students to limit the dialogic space, on one hand, and to allow for the inclusion of the views of their readers, on the other hand, while reviewing the works of other scholars in the literature review section of their masters’ theses.

The study also probed further to examine the epistemological norms and conventions that inform the use of these resources in the theses submitted to the three selected departments.

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