Parameters of variation in the use of words in empirical research writing
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd Empirical research writing is one of the primary means of disseminating knowledge in academia. It is through this particular form of knowledge dissemination that a rich body of scientific knowledge about a given phenomenon is accumulated. This paper explores patterns of variation in the language of this specific sub-register of academic writing, as reflected in the use of words in different sections of empirical research articles from across ten disciplinary fields. An inductive approach was adopted through which patterns of specificity in vocabulary use were systematically identified, triangulated and verified using different methods of data analysis. The results presented in this study show that the lexical choices academics make in the process of composing their research papers are differentially affected by the standards and conventions of scholarly activities in their field. It was found that such conventions have the potential to govern the delineation of authors’ linguistic decisions at the most basic levels, such as the lexis.