Asking questions and making comments in conference Q&A sessions can be challenging for novice academics. Discussants not only try to seek answers or exchange ideas with the presenter but also endeavour to project a positive image of themselves by asking the ‘right’ questions in the ‘right’ way. However, many novice academics fear looking foolish because of unfocused and convoluted questions. Surprisingly, little guidance is available for how to formulate Q&A questions. This study attempts to address the gap by investigating the forms, functions and generic moves of 268 turns taken by discussants in 80 computer science conference Q&A sessions. Certain forms (i.e., question and comment) were found to be associated with certain pragmatic functions. This study reveals that different types of question/comment have major moves in common. The study also shows that the more evaluative and face-threatening the question is, the more important it is for the discussant to make the moves of building rapport with the presenter, and contextualising and justifying the main question/statement. The importance of justifying the main question/statement also resonates with the persuasive nature of scientific argumentative discourse. The findings can offer novice academics detailed explanations of the communicative purposes and strategies for this important conference interaction. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
CitationXu, X. (2022). A genre-based analysis of questions and comments in Q&A sessions after conference paper presentations in computer science. English for Specific Purposes, 66, 63-76. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esp.2021.12.002
- Academic speaking
- Move analysis
- Conference discussion sessions
- Question types
- Corpus analysis
- Computer science