The aim is to analyze NP
In the present study we investigate the use and function of prefabricated chunks in academic writing by focusing on what we will term “research predicates”, i.e., high-frequency lexical items designating the research process with its key stages. We conducted a manual analysis of these predicates in the academic subcomponent of the British National Corpus and extracted a set of partially lexically filled constructions. Adopting a usage-based constructionist approach and examining its ability to study prefabricated chunks in the register of academic writing, we show that research predicates are part of more complex partially substantive constructions which commonly occur in the register of academic texts and have a acquired a more or less formulaic status. The function of these constructions is to mirror the key phases of an idealized research process.