Hedges and boosters in plenary speakers’ conference abstracts vs. novice researchers’ conference abstracts

Ekoç A.

RumeliDE Dil ve Edebiyat Araştırmaları Dergisi, no.13, pp.1-14, 2018 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


Conference abstracts are essential components of academic studies as potential participants decide to attend the session based on what they get from the content of the abstracts. However, conference abstract writing has received relatively less attention compared to research article and thesis abstracts. Representing and summarizing the whole presentation in a limited space requires competence.  In writing a conference abstract, one should take an academic speaking position by claiming significance, credibility and novelty. In academic conferences, there are two or three invited plenary speakers who are very experienced, full -fledged academics and in the concurrent sessions, many novice researchers who are often at the very beginning of their academic studies. Novice researchers’ abstracts are being assessed by scientific committees while plenary speakers’ abstracts are exempt from this review process. Academics, whether they are experienced or novice, make use of lexical hedging  and boosting strategies that show their degree of confidence in the truth of their statements but also reveal their opinions and attitudes to the reader. In this small scale study, 10 plenary speakers’ conference abstracts and 10 novice researchers’ conference abstracts are chosen randomly from different conferences and the aim is to analyze if there is any variation between plenary speakers’ conference abstracts and novice researchers’ conference abstracts in the use of hedging and boosting strategies with regard to frequency counts on lexical bases.