Hedging in the peer review process

Roger Michael Alan Yallop
University of Tartu

Peer review is becoming widely accepted as an effective and commonly used teaching method on Academic L2 writing courses (Leijen and Leontjeva 2012). However, participants are often uncomfortable at directly criticising their colleague’s written texts in their review comments. So as not to offend their peers, they often hedge their reviews in order to mitigate or soften their criticisms. Crompton (1997) in his summary of the literature explains that hedging is a common linguistic devise used as a politeness strategy to make ‘things fuzzier’ as a threat minimizing strategy. This presentation explores how one dyad use hedging devices to mitigate their review comments on one another as part of an on-going longitudinal study. I explain how I use Salager-Mayer’s (1994) taxonomy to code the pair’s hedging devices. I present the results graphically and speculate on how this knowledge can improve the effectiveness of the peer review process.

Crompton, P. (1997). Hedging in academic writing: Some theoretical problems. English for Specific Purposes, 16/4: 271-287.

Leijen, D. and Leontjeva, A. (2012). Linguistic and review features of peer feedback and their effect on implementation of changes in academic writing: A corpus based investigation. Journal of Writing Research, 4/2: 177 - 202.

Salager-Meyer, F. (1994). Hedges and textual communicative function in medical English written discourse. English for specific purposes, 13/2, 149-170.