Academic Phrasebank

Click on the following:

 

Major Sections
Introducing work
Reviewing literature
Describing methods
Reporting results
Discussing findings
Writing conclusions

 

General Functions
Being critical

Classifying and listing
Compare and contrast

Defining terms
Explaining causality
Expressing caution
Describing trends
Describing quantities
Giving examples
Writing about the past
Preview and transition

phrasebank.pdf
Useful links
Home

 

 

 

 

Describing Methods

In the Methods section of a dissertation or research article, writers give an account of how they carried out their research. The Methods section should be clear and detailed enough for another experienced person to repeat the research and reproduce the results. Where the methods chosen are new, unfamiliar or perhaps even controversial, or where the intended audience is from many disciplines, the Methods section will tend to be much more extensive. Typical stretches of text found in this section of a research article or dissertation along with examples of the kind of language used for these are listed below.

Note that for most of the functional categories in this section, the verbs are written in the simple past tense.

 

Describing previously used methods

To date various methods have been developed and introduced to measure X:
In most recent studies, X has been measured in four different ways.
Traditionally, X has been assessed by measuring….
This test is widely available, and has been used in many investigational studies.
Recently, simpler and more rapid tests of X have been developed.
Radiographic techniques are the main non-invasive method used to determine ....
Different authors have measured X in a variety of ways.
Previous studies have based their criteria for selection on ....
A variety of methods are used to assess X. Each has its advantages and drawbacks.
Data were gathered from multiple sources at various time points during ....

Giving reasons why a particular method was adopted or rejected

The semi-structured approach was chosen because ....
Smith et al. (1994) identify several advantages of the case study, ....
It was decided that the best method to adopt for this investigation was to ....
A case study approach was used to allow a ....
A case-study approach was chosen since ....
The design of the questionnaires was based on ....
The X method is one of the more practical ways of ....
It was considered that quantitative measures would usefully supplement and extend the qualitative analysis.
Many of the distributions were not normal so non-parametric signed rank tests were run.
The X approach has a number of attractive features: ....
The second advantage of using the multivariate method is ....
One advantage of the X analysis is that it avoids ....
The sensitivity of the X technique has been demonstrated in a report by Smith et al (2011).

However, there are certain drawbacks associated with the use of ....
The main disadvantage of the experimental method is that ....
A major problem with the experimental method is that ....
There are certain problems with the use of focus groups. One of these is that there is less control over ....

Indicating a specific method

X was prepared according to the procedure used by Patel et al. (1957).
The synthesis of X was done according to the procedure of Smith (1973).
X was synthesised using the same method that was detailed for Y, using ....
This compound was prepared by adapting the procedure used by Zhao et al. (1990).
For this study, the X was used to explore the subsurface ....
An alternative method for making scales homogenous is by using ....
Samples were analysed for X as previously reported by Smith et al. (2012)

Describing the characteristics of the sample

The initial sample consisted of 200 students, 75 of whom belonged to minority groups.
All of the participants were aged between 18 and 19 at the beginning of the study.....
Two groups of subjects were interviewed, namely X and Y. The first group were ....
A random sample of patients with .... was recruited from ....
Forty-seven students studying X were recruited for this study.
The students were divided into two groups based on their performance on ....
The project used a convenience sample of 32 first year modern languages students.
Just over half the sample (53%) was female, of whom 69% were ....
Participants were recruited from 15 clinics across ...., covering urban and rural areas ....
Eligibility criteria required individuals to have received .
Eligible women who matched the selection criteria were identified by
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 male offenders with a mean age of 38 years

Articles were searched from January 1965 until April 2010.
Publications were only included in the analysis if .
All studies described as using some sort of X procedure were included in the analysis.
A systematic literature review was conducted of studies that ....

Indicating reasons for sample characteristics

A small sample was chosen because of the expected difficulty of obtaining ....
The subjects were selected on the basis of a degree of homogeneity of their ....
Five individuals were excluded from the study on the basis of ….
Criteria for selecting the subjects were as follows:
A comparison group of 12 male subjects without any history of X was drawn from a pool of ….

Describing the process: infinitive of purpose

In order to identify the T10 and T11 spinous processes, the subjects were asked to ....
In order to understand how
X regulates Y, a series of transfections was performed.

To enable the subjects to see the computer screen clearly, the laptop was configured with ....
To see if the two methods gave the same measurement, the data was plotted and ....
To control for bias, measurements were carried out by another person.
To rule out the possibility that X, the participants were ....
To measure X, a question asking .... was used.
To determine whether
..., KG-1 cells were incubated for ....
To establish whether ....,
To increase the reliability of measures, each X was tested twice with a 4-min break between ....
To compare the scores three weeks after initial screening, a global ANOVA F-test was used

The vials were capped with .... to prevent ....
In an attempt to make each interviewee feel as comfortable as possible, the interviewer ....

Describing the process: other phrases expressing purpose

For the purpose of height measurement, subjects were asked to stand ....
For the purpose of analysis, 2 segments were extracted from each ....
For the estimation of protein concentration, 100 µL of protein sample was mixed with ....

Describing the process: typical verbs (note use of passive form)

A self-administered postal survey was used to collect data for this research.
Data management and analysis was performed using SPSS 16.0 (2006).
Published studies were identified using a search strategy developed in ....
The experiments were carried out over the course of the growing period from ....
Injection solutions were coded by a colleague to reduce experimenter bias.
Drugs were administered by icv injection under ....
The mean score for the two trials was subjected to multivariate analysis of variance to determine ....
The subjects were asked to pay close attention to the characters whenever ....
Prompts were used as an aid to question two so that ....
The pilot interviews were conducted informally by the trained interviewer ....
Blood samples were obtained with consent, from 256 caucasian male patients ....
Independent tests were carried out on the x and y scores for the four years from ....
This experiment was repeated under conditions in which the poor signal/noise ratio was improved.
Significance levels were set at the 1% level using the student t-test.
A total of 256 samples were taken from 52 boreholes (Figure 11).
The experiments were run using custom software written in....
Two sets of anonymised questionnaires were completed by ....
Article references were searched further for additional relevant publications.
The data were normalised using ....

Describing the process: sequence words and phrases

Prior to commencing the study, ethical clearance was sought from ....
Prior to undertaking the investigation, ethical clearance was obtained from ....
In the end, the EGO was selected as the measurement tool for the current study.

After "training", the subjects were told that the characters stood for X and that their task was to ....
After collection, the samples were shipped back to X in ....
After conformational analysis of X, it was necessary to ....
After obtaining written informed consent from the patients, a questionnaire regarding the ....

Once the Xs were located and marked, a thin clear plastic ruler ....
Once the positions had been decided upon, the Xs were removed from each Y and replaced by ....
Once the exposures were completed, the X was removed from the Y and placed in ......

On completion of X, the process of model specification and parameter estimation was carried out.
On arrival at the clinic, patients were asked to ....

Following this, the samples were recovered and stored overnight at ....
Following correction for ...., X was reduced to ....

These ratings were then made for the ten stimuli to which the subject had been exposed ......
The analysis was checked when initially performed and then checked again at the end of ......
The subjects were then shown a film individually and were asked to ......
The soil was then weighed again, and this weight was recorded as ....
The results were corrected for the background readings and then averaged before being converted to......

Finally, questions were asked as to the role of .....
In the follow-up phase of the study, participants were asked ....

Describing the process: adverbs of manner

The soil was then placed in a furnace and gradually heated up to .....
The vials were shaken manually to allow the soil to mix well with the water.
The medium was then aseptically transferred to a conical flask.
The resulting solution was gently mixed at room temperature for ten minutes and ....
A sample of the concentrate was then carefully injected into ....
The tubes were accurately reweighed to six decimal places using ....

Describing the process: passive verb + using .... for instruments

15 subjects were recruited using email advertisements requesting healthy students from ....
All the work on the computer was carried out using Quattro Pro for Windows and ....
Data were collected using two high spectral resolution spectroradiometers.
The data was recorded on a digital audio recorder and transcribed using a ....
Semi-automated genotyping was carried out using X software and ....
Statistical significance was analysed using analysis of variance and t-tests as appropriate.
Comparisons between the two groups were made using unrelated t-tests.

Using the X-ray and looking at the actual X, it was possible to identify ....
Using an Anthos Microplate Reader, we were able to separate single cells into different ....

Describing the process: giving detailed information

Compounds 3 and 5 were dissolved in X at apparent pH 2.5 to give concentrations of 4mM ....
.... and the solutions were degraded at 55°C or 37°C for a total time of 42 hours.
At intervals of 0.5 min, 50 µLof the X was aliquoted into 0.5mL of cooled boric acid buffer (pH 7.5) to ....

Indicating problems or limitations

In this investigation there are several sources for error. The main error is ....
Another major source of uncertainty is in the method used to calculate X..
It was not possible to investigate the significant relationships of X and Y further because the sample size was too small.
Further data collection is required to determine exactly how X affects Y.

top of page


Last updated: 3 April, 2014