Sex differences in academic writing

In Chapter 1.1 I discussed some differences between the writing processes of individual academics. In that chapter, I did not report, nor indeed have I found, any data on sex differences in this respect. This is surprising given that there has always been an interest in differences between the sexes in terms of verbal ability.

It is commonly held that women are more verbal than men. Consequently, there is considerable discussion about whether or not men and women write and speak in different ways. In a major review of the field, Pennebaker et al. (2003) concluded that women, in general, use more words related to psychological and social processes, and that men refer more to object properties and impersonal topics. However, these conclusions, of course, are related to the topics that men and women speak and write about, and how salient these topics are for them. Men and women, when they are talking about specifically masculine and feminine things (e.g. football and cosmetics), do differ in their spoken language, but do they differ in how they write about them?

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