Voice in academic writing: The rhetorical construction of author identity in blind manuscript review

Paul Kei Matsuda, Christine M. Tardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


Some researchers have argued that voice is irrelevant to academic writing and that the importance of voice has been overstated in the professional literature [Helms-Park, R., & Stapleton, P. (2003); Stapleton, P. (2002)]. To investigate whether and how a socially oriented notion of voice-defined as "the amalgamative effect of the use of discursive and non-discursive features that language users choose, deliberately or otherwise, from socially available yet ever-changing repertoires" [Matsuda, P.K. (2001)]-plays a role in academic writing, this study examined the construction of an author's discursive identity by peer reviewers in a simulated blind manuscript review process for an academic journal in the field of rhetoric and composition. The analysis of the written reviews as well as interviews with the two reviewers and the manuscript author indicated that the reviewers' constructions of the author's voice are related to their stance toward the author. The findings suggest that voice does play a role in academic writing and that there is a need for further research into the issue of identity construction from the perspectives of both writers and readers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-249
Number of pages15
JournalEnglish for Specific Purposes
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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