- RQ1 When the articles in the Global Environmental Change journal are ‘clustered’ according to linguistic features, do the clusters that are identified represent communities of practice, disciplinary or otherwise? Do the clusters remain the same over time? Do the general linguistic profiles of GEC articles (established through multidimensional [MD] analysis) resemble those of other IDR journals? Are they distinct from those of specialist disciplinary journals?
- RQ2 What is the phraseological profile of the GEC articles? Does this profile distinguish clusters of articles; and are these clusters the same as those identified by the MD analysis clustering technique? Do phraseological profiles change over time?
We will adopt Römer’s (2010) concept of the ‘phraseological profile’ and identify the most frequent continuous and discontinuous phrases in the corpus, establishing also the distribution pattern of each phrase, and we will determine the functions of the most frequent phrases through analysis of concordances of those phrases. We will then cluster articles according to phraseological profiles and draw on the literature around phrases and epistemology to interpret the clustering of articles so established.
- RQ3 To what extent do GEC articles cite sources from across cluster divides? What are the functions of citations? What and how much do authors cite? How have these practices changed over time?Lists of references will be extracted for each article and the items classified as to which discipline or IDR group they belong to. These classifications will be made with the cooperation of Elsevier. The purpose of this analysis is to find out whether articles draw mainly on a subject-specific body of literature or whether they refer to a broader literature. In the XML files, inline citations are readily identifiable because they are marked up in XML; each inline citation will be additionally (and manually) coded in the corpus files using a scheme developed in Thompson (2005), and modified by Petrič (2007). This framework distinguishes formal and functional features of citations that can then be quantified, to provide a profile. In addition, we will measure the density of citations in each article, across the whole text and also in each major rhetorical section (Abstract, Introduction, etc) and compare citation profiles across years and across journals.
- RQ4 How are writers, researchers and readers represented in GEC articles, and how does this change over time? Do ‘interdisciplinary researcher’ identities emerge over time? Has the imagined readership changed? How does GEC compare to other journals?
Drawing on Hyland’s (2010) model of metadiscourse and his theory of writing as social interaction, we will search the corpus for nouns and pronouns that identify the writer and the reader and we will also search for verbs which express actions that writers take or have taken or that readers are enjoined to take (eg, ‘see’, ‘consider’).
- RQ5 What do journal editors, reviewers and authors perceive the distinctive features of an interdisciplinary journal to be, in comparison with a discipline-specific journal? What practices and what linguistic features do they identify as key to successful IDR communication in journals? How have practices changed over time?
With the cooperation of Elsevier, surveys will be sent to editors, past and present, of the journals investigated in this project, to reviewers and to authors. The surveys will explore questions relating to the respondents’ perspectives on IDR, and its relations to traditional disciplines. Editors and authors will also be invited to take part in semi-structured telephone interviews. We will identify potential participants through discussion with Elsevier.
Surveys will be sent to several hundred editors, reviewers and authors of interdisciplinary research journals, and 30 to 50 of these respondents will take part in interviews. The responses to the surveys and to the interviews will contribute to our analyses of the texts and suggest new lines of approach to the corpus data.