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Hedging in nursing and education academic articles

Ghaleb Rabab'ah (Department of Linguistics, The University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan)

Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues

ISSN: 1753-7983

Article publication date: 16 September 2013



The study aims to investigate how and why hedges are used in nursing and education academic research articles and find out whether there are differences between the two disciplines in using hedges and their subcategories.


The realization of hedges in 50 academic articles representing both disciplines, namely education and nursing, was scrutinized and analyzed.


The study reveals that there are significant differences between the nursing and education writers' use of hedging in the total use of hedging devices and their subcategories, in favor of the education discipline. This indicates that writers of education articles use hedges more frequently than the writers of nursing articles. In support of previous literature, it concludes that hedging devices are used as communicative strategies to qualify writers' commitment, reduce the force of the researchers' statements, express probability, save the writers' face, persuade readers, and avoid any possible rejection of their statements.

Research limitations/implications

The study was limited to 50 research articles representing both disciplines: education (non-scientific genre) and nursing (scientific genre), and certain hedging devices and their subcategories.

Practical implications

The study recommends that a clear awareness of the pragmatic effect of hedges and the ability to recognize them in texts is crucial to the acquisition of rhetorical competence in any discipline.


Despite the significance of hedging and the extensive research conducted on hedging, no studies have been conducted on nursing and education academic research articles to see how and why hedges are used in these two disciplines. The results can add to the existing literature that this rhetorical strategy is used differently in different disciplines and make an important contribution to the understanding of the practical reasoning and persuasion in nursing and education.



Rabab'ah, G. (2013), "Hedging in nursing and education academic articles", Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, Vol. 6 No. 3/4, pp. 195-215.



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