Using language with a suitable quantity of caution can protect your claims from being easily dismissed. It also helps to point the degree of certainty we now have pertaining to the evidence or support.
Compare the following two texts that are short (A) and (B). You will see that even though two texts are, in essence, saying the thing that is same (B) has a substantial level of extra language round the claim. A amount that is large of language is performing the function of ‘hedging’.
Compare the next two texts that are short (A) and (B). What number of differences do you really see when you look at the text that is second? What’s the function/effect/purpose of each difference?
You will probably observe that (B) is more ‘academic’, however it is important to understand why.
(A) Extensive reading helps students to boost their vocabulary.
(B) Research conducted by Yen (2005) appears to indicate that, for a significant proportion of students, extensive reading may play a role in an improvement in their active vocabulary. Yen’s (2005) study learners that are involved 15-16 when you look at the UK, even though it can be applicable to many other groups. However, the study involved an opt-in sample, which means the sample students might have been more ‘keen’, or more involved with reading already. It will be beneficial to see if the findings differ in a wider sample.
(please be aware that Yen (2005) is a fictional reference used only as one example).
The table below provides some examples of language to use when making knowledge claims.
Look for samples of hedging language in your own reading, to add to the table.
Phrases for Hedging
Language Function with Example Phrases