Are Scientists Objective? An Investigation of Appraisal Resources in English Popular Science Articles

Document Type : Original Article


Kharazmi University of Tehran, Iran


With the increasingly growing technological advances and their consequences for societies, the public has the right to be engaged in the outcomes of science. On the one hand, the public are interested in acquiring information about the results of scientists’ experiments. On the other hand, the scientists are willing to share their feelings about their discoveries with the public in order to achieve wider audience. These all have prompted popularizing of science within the last few decades. The current study aimed to explore the frequency of evaluative resources of Appraisal in English popular science articles (PSAs hereafter) in the field of Nutrition. A total of 40 English popularized articles published in four popular sources, WebMD, Better Nutrition, Science Daily, and New York Times, were analyzed in terms of three main categories and subcategories of Appraisal Theory. The results of the analysis revealed that authors used more Attitude resources followed by Graduation and Engagement resources. With regard to subcategories of three main categories, the authors of English PSAs included more cases of appreciation, force, and heterogloss resources. The findings indicated that the authors of PSAs tend to insert their feelings about their discoveries through employing Appraisal resources. The results might be used to embed Appraisal resources in EAP materials in order to equip the would-be scientists with a helpful tool to meet the expectations of another group of their intended audience, i.e. general public, in addition to fulfilling the requirements of their academic discourse community.