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Gender Salience and the Use of Linguistic Qualifiers and Intensifiers in Online Course Discussions

American Journal of Distance Education Volume 20, Number 4, ISSN 0892-3647


Past studies of online discourse found social presence to be a critical element in the learning process. Social presence connotes the extent to which students perceive themselves as intellectually connected to the other participants in an online dialogue. Impediments to the development of social presence can disrupt knowledge formation as a group activity. This study analyzed differences in the language styles of men and women as one such impediment. When students self-categorize by gender, the expository speaking style of men may crowd out the epistolary style of women, leading women to cognitively disengage from the group learning process. However, in online course environments, where self-categorization is by shared identity, such crowding out is less likely to occur. This study found no evidence of a male crowding-out effect.


Graddy, D.B. (2006). Gender Salience and the Use of Linguistic Qualifiers and Intensifiers in Online Course Discussions. American Journal of Distance Education, 20(4), 211-229. Retrieved October 18, 2019 from .

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Cited By

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  • Distance Education: Making it Female Friendly

    Deborah Saks, Purdue University, United States

    E-Learn: World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2008 (Nov 17, 2008) pp. 3151–3153

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