Mur-Dueñas, Pilar: “Knowledge dissemination through research project websites: engaging and interacting with a wide audience”
Academics are currently not only required to produce primary output, i.e. peer-reviewed research articles, chapters or books, which constitutes certified and legitimised knowledge, and on which their status and reputation lie (Puschmann 2015), but they are increasingly pressed to disseminate, circulate and discuss such output, which is frequently done online and through English. Such dissemination seeks to promote the visibility of the scholars and their work, so that they and their research get to be known by a wide, international audience, including not only academics and scientists, but also other stakeholders and beneficiaries from research and specialised knowledge.
In this context of scholarly online communication the websites of international research projects can be considered an important means to disseminate research results and new knowledge to get visibility and reputation. It is the aim of this paper to look, specifically, into the ways in which the potential wide audience is engaged in the presentation of research by means of specific lexico-grammatical and rhetorical features, mainly research questions, personal pronouns and directives. A quantitative and qualitative analysis will be carried out based on a data base of websites, focusing on: (i) which the preferred means of attracting the readers’ attention are, (ii) on whether such engagement markers are used consistently throughout the websites or tend to be more or less common in specific (sub) genres (bearing in mind likely different audiences), and (iii) how they contribute to achieving specific communicative purposes. Preliminary findings suggest that there are differences across and within international research project websites in the use of these interpersonality features, which are influenced by the digital medium and that engagement markers have an effect on their degree of interactivity.