Differences between novice and experienced academics in their engagement with audience members in conference Q&A sessions

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Abstract

Conference Q&A sessions can be challenging encounters for academics, as unpredictable comments or questions can disarm presenters, particularly inexperienced ones. Novice researchers experience further difficulty in socialising into Q&A discourse due to the limited accessibility of conferences, the scarce attention from researchers on their particular needs, and a shortage of pedagogical materials. This study attempts to bridge the gap by investigating the rhetorical differences in Q&A responses given by novice academics and professors, focusing on lexico-grammatical features. It conducted a data-driven analysis of frequent n-grams and their functions as a precursor to an in-depth manual discourse analysis of the co-articulation of engagement markers. It found that the novice academics preferred contraction markers to express defensive positions while the experienced academics preferred expansion markers to construct a welcoming voice. The findings imply that EAP teaching should emphasise the co-constructive and solidarity-oriented tendencies of Q&A after introducing the generic features of Q&A. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101188
JournalJournal of English for Academic Purposes
Volume60
Early online dateOct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Citation

Xu, X. (2022). Differences between novice and experienced academics in their engagement with audience members in conference Q&A sessions. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 60, Article 101188. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2022.101188

Keywords

  • Academic speaking
  • Conference discourse
  • Novice academics
  • EAP
  • Engagement
  • Q&A sessions

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