Incorporating and evaluating voices in a Film Studies thesis

Coffin, Caroline Jane (2009). Incorporating and evaluating voices in a Film Studies thesis. Writing and Pedagogy, 1(2) pp. 163–193.



In academic writing, referencing sources is more than just a strategy for demonstrating scholarship. In thesis writing, for example, it plays an important role in making the writer’s argument persuasive. This investigation is concerned with the different ways in which thesis writers incorporate and evaluate diverse voices through academic referencing. First, it sets out an analytical framework underpinned by systemic functional linguistics (Halliday, 2004), particularly developments in appraisal theory (Martin and White, 2005). The framework provides a dialogic perspective on the linguistic options for referencing academic sources. The discussion then shows how the framework was used to conduct a detailed analysis of one Doctoral student’s incorporation of academic sources in a successful Film Studies thesis. The analysis concludes with an illustrative list of referencing strategies used in theses and other types of academic writing. By reporting on how the conventions of referencing can be used in rhetorically effective ways, the research aims to make a contribution to the field of academic writing which is of practical as well as academic value.

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