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Kindle
version
©2017
The University of Manchester
Page
Preface
The Academic Phrasebank is a general resource for academic writers. It aims
to provide the
phraseological ‘nuts and bolts’
of
academic
writing organised according to the main sections of a
research paper or
dissertation.
Other phrases are listed under the more general communicativ
e
functions of academic writing.
The resource was
designed primarily for academic and scientific writers who are non
native speakers
of English. However, native writers may still find much of the material helpfu
l. In fact, recent data
suggest
that the majority of users are native speakers of English.
e phrases, and the headings under which they are listed, can be used simply to assist you in
thinking about the content and organisation of your own writing, or the phrases can be incorporated
into your writing where this is appropriate. In most cases, a c
ertain amount of creativity and
adaptation will be necessary when a phrase is used.
The Academic Phrasebank is not discipline specific. Nevertheless, it should be particularly useful for
writers who need to report their empirical studies. The phrases are
content neutral and generic in
nature; in using them, therefore, you are not stealing other people's ideas and this does not
constitute plagiarism.
Most of the phrases in this compendium have
been
organised according to the main sections of a
research r
eport. However, it is an over
simplification to associate the phrases only with the section in
which they have been placed here. In reality, for example,
many of
phrases used for referring to
other
studies may
be found throughout a research report.
In th
e current Kindle
version, additional material, which is not phraseological, has been incorporated.
These additional sections should be helpful to you as a writer.
Page

Contents

About Academic Phrasebank
……………………………………………
…...
...............
Major Sections

Introducing work
……………………………………………..………....................
Referring to literature
……………………………………………..………….................
……………………………………………..………....................
Reporting results
……………………………………………..………....................
Discussing findings
……………………………………………..………....................
Writing conclusions
……………………………………………..………....................
General Functions
Being critical
……………………………………………..………....................
Being cautious
……………………………………………..………....................
Classifying and listing
……………………………………………..………....................
Compare and contrast
……………………………………………..………....................
Defining terms
……………………………………..………..………..................
Describing trends
………………………………………..……..………..................
Describing quantities
…………………………………………..…..………..................
Explaining causality
……………………………………………....………..................
Giving examples as support
……………………………………………….………..................
Signalling transition
……………………………………………..…..……..................
Writing about the past
……………………………………………..……..…..................
Writing
abstracts
……………………………………………..………....................
Writing
acknowledgements
……………………………………………..………....................
Notes on Academic Writing
Academic style
……………………………………..………..………..................
Style in presentations
Commonly confused words
………………………………………..……..………..................
………………………………………………………………………….
British and US spelling
…………………………………………..…..………..................
Punctuation
……………………………………………....………..................
Using articles
……………………………………………….………..................
Sentence structure
……………………………………………..…..……..................
Words for connect
ing ideas
……………………………………………..…..……..................
Paragraph structure
……………………………………………..……..…..................
Helpful tips for writers
……………………………………………..………....................
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About Academic Phrasebank
Theoretical Influences
The Academic
Phrasebank largely draws on an approach to analysing academic texts originally
pioneered by John Swales in the 1980s. Utilising a genre analysis approach to identify rhetorical
patterns in the introductions to research articles, Swales defined a ‘move’ as
a section of text that
serves a specific communicative function (Swales, 1981,1990). This unit of rhetorical analysis is used
as one of the main organising sub
categories of the Academic Phrasebank. Swales not only identified
commonly
used moves in article
introductions, but he was interested in showing the kind of
language which was used to achieve the communicative purpose of each move. Much of this
language was phraseological in nature.
The resource also draws upon psycholinguistic insights into how lan
guage is learnt and produced. It is
now accepted that much of the language we use is phraseological; that it is acquired, stored and
retrieved as pre
formulated constructions (
Bolinger, 1976;
Pawley and Syder, 1983). These insights
began to be supported em
pirically as computer technology permitted the identification of recurrent
phraseological patterns in very large corpora of spoken and written English using specialised
software (e.g. Sinclair, 1991). Phrasebank recognises that there is an important phrase
ological
dimension to academic language and attempts to make examples of this explicit.
Sources of the phrases
vast majority of phrases
in this resource have been taken from authentic academic sources. The
original corpus from which the phrases were ‘harvested’ consisted of 100 postgraduate dissertations
completed at the University of Manchester. However, phrases from academic articles dr
awn from a
broad spectrum of
disciplines
have also been, and continue to be, incorporated. In most cases, the
phrases have been simplified and where necessary they have been ‘sifted’ from their particularised
academic content. Where content words have been
included for exemplificatory purposes, these are
substitutions of the original words. In selecting a phrase for inclusion into the Academic Phrasebank,
the following questions are asked:
does it serve a useful communicative purpose in academic text?
do
es it contain collocational and/or formulaic elements?
are the content words (nouns, verbs, adjectives) generic in nature?
does the combination ‘sound natural' to a native speaker or writer of English?
When is it acceptable to reuse phrases in academic
writing?
In a rece
nt study (Davis and Morley, 2015
), 45 academics from two
British
universities were surveyed
to determine whether reusing phrases was a legitimate activity for academic writers, and if so, what
kind of phrases could be reused. From the su
rvey and later from in
depth interviews, the following
characteristics for acceptability
emerged. A reused phrase
should
not have a unique or original construction;
should
not express a clear point of view of another writer;
depending on the phrase, m
ay be up to nine words in length; beyond this 'acceptability'
declines;
may contain up to four generic content words (nouns, verbs or adjectives which are not
bound to a specific
topic
Some of the entries in the Academic Phrasebank, contain specific co
ntent words which have been
included for illustrative purposes. These words should be substituted when the phrases are used. In
the phrases below, for example, the content words in bold should be substituted:
Page
X is a major
public health
problem, and the ca
use of
X is the leading cause of death in
western
industrialised countries
The many thousands of disciplinary
specific phrases which can be found in academic communication
comprise a separate category of phrases. These tend to be shorter than the g
eneric phrases listed in
Academic Phrasebank, and typically consist of noun phrases or combinations of these. Acceptability
for reusing these is determined by the extent to which they are used and understood by members of
a particular academic community.
Further work
Development of the website content is ongoing. In addition, r
esearch is cu
rrently being carried out
on the ways in which experienced and less
experienced writers make use of the Academic
Phrasebank.
Another project is seeking to find out more
about ways in which teachers of English for
academic purposes make use of this resource.
References
and related reading
Bolinger, D. (1976
) ‘
Meaning and memory’.
Forum Linguisticum
, 1, pp. 1
Cowie, A. (1992)
‘Multiword l
exical
units and communicative language t
eaching’ in
Vocabulary and applied l
inguistics
, Arnaud, P. and Béjoint, H. (eds). London: MacMillan.
Davis, M., and Morley, J.
(201
‘Phrasal intertextuality: The responses of academics from
different disciplines to students’ re
use of phrases’.
Journal
Second Lang
uage
Writing
28 (2)
pp. 20
Hopkins, A. and
Dudley
Evans, A. (1988).
A genre
based investigations of the discussions
sections in articles and dissertation
English for Specific Purposes
, 7(2),
pp.
Pawley, A.
, and
Syder, F.H. (1983). ‘Two puzzles for linguistic theory: nativelike selection and
nativelike fluency’. In: Richards, J.C. and Schmidt, R.W. (Eds.),
Lan
guage and c
ommunication,
pp. 191
226. Longman: New York.
Sinclair, J. (1991)
Corpus, concordance, c
ollocation
. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Swales, J. (1981).
Aspects of
rticle introductions
(Aston ESP Research Report No. 1).
Birmingham: Language Stud
ies Unit: University of Aston.
Swales, J. (1990).
Genre analysis: English in academic and research settings.
Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Wood, D. (2015)
The f
undamentals
of formulaic language
. London: Bloomsbury.
Wray, A., and
Perkins, M. (2000
).
The functions of formulaic language: an integrated model
Language and Communication,
,
pp.
Page
Major S
ections
Page
Introducing Work
There are many ways to introduce an academic essay or short
paper. Most academic writers,
however, appear to do one or more of the following in their introductions:
establish the context, background and/or importance of the topic
indicate an issue, problem, or controversy in the field of study
define the topic or key terms
ate
the purpose of the essay or piece of writing
provide an overview of the coverage and/or structure of the writing
Slightly less complex introductions may simply inform
the reader:
what
the topic is,
why
it is
important, and
how
the writing is organised. In very short assignments, it is not u
ncommon for a
writer to commence
simply by statin
g the purpose of their writing and
by indicating how it
is
organised.
Introductions to
research
dissertations
and th
eses
tend to be relatively short
compared to the other
sections
of the text
but quite complex
in terms of their functional elements
. Some of the more
common
elements
include:
establishing the context, background and/or importance of the topic
giving a bri
ef synopsis of the relevant literature
highlighting the inadequacy of previous research
indicating a problem, controversy or a knowledge gap in the field of study
establishing the desirability of the research
listing the research questions or hypotheses
Occupying the niche
(listing purpose of new research, listing questions, stating value,
indicating structure of writing)

Swales, J.
(1990)
Genre Analysis
. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Page
Establishing the importance of the topic for the discipline
A key aspect of X is …
X is of interest because …
X is a classic problem in …
A primary conc
ern of X is …
X is a dominant feature of …
X is a fundamental property of …
Studies on X represent a growing field.
X is an increasingly important area in...
The concepts of X and Y are central to …
X is at the heart of our understanding of …
Investigating
X is a continuing concern within …
X is a major area of interest within the field of …
X has been studied by many researchers using …
X has been the subject of many classic studies in …
X has been instrumental in our understanding of …
The theory of X
provides a useful account of how …
X has been an important concept in the study of the …
Central to the entire discipline of X is the concept of …
One of the most significant current discussions in X is …
X has been the subject of much systematic investiga
tion.
The issue of X has received considerable critical attention.
Un
derstanding the complexity of
X is vitally important if …
X has long been a question of great interest in a wide range of fields.
The role of X in Y has received increased attention acro
ss a number of disciplines in recent years.
Establishing the importance of the topic for the disci
pline: time frame given
was one of the most popular Ys during …
Traditionally, Xs have subscribed to the belief that …
Over the past century, there has
been a dramatic increase in …
Recent trends in X have led to a proliferation of studies that ...
X proved an important literary genre in the early Y community.
X has received considerable scholarly attention in recent years …
In recent years,
researchers h
ave shown an increased interest in ...
Recently, a considerable literature has grown up around the theme of …
Recent developments in the field of X have led to a renewed interest in …
The past thirty years have seen increasingly rapid advances in the field
of …
In the last few decades, there has been a surge of interest in the effects of …
For more than a century, scientists have been interested in the existence of …
The discovery of X in 1986 has triggered a huge amount of innovative scientific inquiry.
During the last decade, the link between X and Y has been at the centre of much attention.
Page
Recently,
More recently,
In recent years,
there has been
growing interest in …
renewed interest in …
a surge of interest in …
extensive research on …
increased emphasis on …
an increasing interest in …
growing recognition of the vital links between …
a growing number of publications focusing on …
a greater focus placed upon X within the Y literature.
world
wide recognition of the problems associated wit
h …
has been
studied widely
studied extensively
an object of research
studied using light
microscopy
attracting considerable interest
since
the 1960s.
it was discovered in 1981.
the early years of this century.
Establishing the importance of the
topic for the world or society
X is widespread in …
X is fundamental to …
X is a major contributor to …
X is an important aspect of …
X is frequently prescribed for …
X is one of the key components of Y.
X is fast becoming a key instrument in ...
X is
the most widely distributed species of …
Xs have emerged as powerful platforms for …
X is essential for a wide range of technologies
Xs are the most potent anti
inflammatory agents known.
There is evidence that X plays a crucial role in regulating …
a common condition which has considerable impact on …
In the new global economy, X has become a central issue for ...
X is an important component in the climat
e system, and plays a key role in Y.
Xs were the most serious and widespread popular disturbances to occur in …
In the history of development economics, X has been thought of as a key factor in …
Page
plays a
can play a
may play a
vital
major
crucial
ivotal
central
essential
important
significant
fundamental
role in
ensuring …
reducing …
fostering …
combating …
preventing …
is a key
part of …
issue in …
driver of …
factor in …
aspect of …
feature of …
element of …
strategy for …
indicator of …
ingredient of …
component of …
mechanism for …

Establishing the importance of the
topic for the world or society:
time frame given
One of the most important events of the 1970s was …
Recent developments in X have heightened the need for …
The last two
decades have seen a growing trend towards …
Over the past century, there has been a dramatic increase in …
Recent trends in X have led to a proliferation of studies that ...
The past decade has seen the rapid development of X in many …
X has experienced u
nprecedented growth over the past 100 years.
Page
Highlighting a
n important
problem
X is a key issue in …
X is a leading cause of …
X is a major problem in …
Of particular concern is …
One of the main obstacles
One of the greatest challenges
A key issue
is the safe disposal of …
The main disadvantage of X is that …
X is associated with increased risk of …
X impacts negatively upon a range of …
X is a common disorder characterised by …
It is now well established that
can impair …
X has led to the decline
in the population
of …
X is a growing public health concern worldwide
The main challenge faced by many researchers is the …
X is one of the most frequently stated problems with …
Lack of X has existed as a health problem for many years.
X is a major
envi
ronmental
problem, and the main cause of …
Xs are one of the most rapidly declining groups of insects
in ...
X is the leading cause of death in western
industrialised countries.
Despite its long clinical success, X has a number of problems in use.
Exposure
to X has been shown to be related to adverse effects in …
There is increasing concern that some Xs are being
disadvantaged …
X may cause …
X is limited by …
X suffers from …
X is too expensive to be used for …
X has accentuated the problem of
the performance of X is limited by …
X could be a contributing factor to …
the synthesis of X remains a major challenge
X can be extremely harmful to human beings
research has consistently shown that X lacks …
a major problem with this kind of applicat
ion is …
the determination of X is technically challenging
Page
Synopsis of literature
Recent evidence suggests that …
Extensive research has shown that …
Studies of X show the importance of …
It has previously been observed
that …
Several
attempts have been made to …
Data from several studies suggest that …
Previous research has established that …
Recent work by
historians has established that …
Previous research comparing X and Y has found …
The existing body of research on
X suggests that …
There is a growing body of literature that recognises …
Several theories on the origin of X have been proposed.
Existing research recognis
es the critical role played by …
It is now well established from a variety of studies, that …
Recently investigators have examined the effects of X on Y.
Surveys such as that conducted by Smith (1988)
have shown
that …
Factors found to be influencing X have been explored in several studies.
A number of cross
sectional studies suggest an association
between X and Y…
Studies over the past two decades have provided important information on …
A considerable amount of literature has been published on X. These studies …
noted that …
argued that …
shown that …
reported that …
assumed that …
observed that …
proposed that …
estimated that …
suggested that …
established that …
demonstrated that ….
conclusively shown that …
Page
Recent
Previous
studies have
research has
found …
linked …
reported …
shown that …
documented …
demonstrated …
established that …
What
we know about X
is known about X
comes fro
s (largely) based on
is (largely) derived from
accounts by …
observations of …
laboratory studies.
outdated studies …
historical data from …
epidemiological studies.
brief biographical details.
cross
sectional studies
of …
studies of people living
in ...
case studies
undertaken in …
contemporary
textual sources.
small
scale experiments with
research using laboratory animals.
research undertaken in major cities.
a few primary sources from the t
ime.
studies conducted in populations of X.
observations using various animal models.



Several
A number of
studies
researchers
have
found …
reported …
identified ….
shown that …
attempted to …
demonstrated that …
investigated whether …
Page
Highlighting a controversy in the field of study
Scholars have long debated the impact of X on the creation and diffusion of …
More recently, literature has emerged that offers contradictory findings about ...
One of the most significant current discussions in legal and
moral philosophy is ...
what …
how to …
whether …
how much …
the role of …
the origin of …
the nature of …
the definition of …
what constitutes
...
the characteristics of …
the precise nature of …
how best to measure …
how to conduct research on …
the important question of why …







Page
General reference to previous research or scholarship:
high
lighting paucity of research
No previous study has investigated
The use of X has not been investigated.
There is little published
information on
There is very little published research on …
Despite the importance of X, there remains a paucity of evidence on …
There have been no controlled studies which compare differences in ...
issue of X has attracted very little attention from the scholarly community.
To date, the problem
of X
has received
scant attention
in the
research literature
To date,
no large
scale studies have been performed to investigate the prevalence of ….
Although
studies have recognis
ed X, research has yet to systematically investigate the effect of …
To date,
Surprisingly,
has (still) not (yet) been
closely
formally
empirically
extensively
scientifically
systematically
comprehensively
studied.
examined.
investigated.
There is a
current
relative
general
notable
surprising
paucity
of studies
of
well
controlled studies
nvestigating
describing how
that seek to identify predictors of
of empirical research
of high
quality research
in the
field of
focusing specifically on
on the current prevalence of …
of scientific literature
of evidence
based
literature
specifically relating to …
on the experiences of …
describing the impact of …
Page
(Very) few studies have
Few
published
studies have
explored …
focused on
controlled for …
examined how …
compared
trends in …
attempted to define …
examined the role of …
measured X
in humans
quantified the levels of …
systematically investigated …
assesse
the implications of …
evaluated the effects of X on …
examined the consequences of …
actually examined the impact of …
provided quantitative evidence of …
systematically evaluated the use of …
attempted to quantify the impact of …
adequately tested the effectiveness of …
addres
sed the long term psychological effects of …
been large enough to provide reliable estimates of …
been conducted to determine the possible effects of …
So far,
To date,
Up to now,
there
has been no systematic analysis of …
have been no attempts to
examine …
has been very little research directly investigating X.
have been very few empirically published accounts of X.
very
little
research has been carried out on …
has been published on the subject of …
attention
has been paid to the role of …
research has addressed the question of …
(very)
few
studies have assessed the role of …




Page
Relatively
Surprisingly
Remarkably
Comparatively
few
studies have
analysed …
assessed …
examined …
measured …
investigated …
little
research has
While
Whilst
Although
some re
search has been
carried out on X
no single study
exists which ...
no studies have been found which ...
no controlled studies have been reported.
there is very little scientific understanding of ...
only two studies have attempted to investigate ...
there have been few empirical investigations into ...
e mechanism by which ... has not been established.
little if any empirical work has been done to investigate …
several studies have shown
that …,
Highlighting inadequacies
or weaknesses of
previous studies
(also refer to
Being Critical
Previous
studies of X have not dealt with ...
Researchers have not treated X in much detail.
Such expositions are unsatisfactory because they ...
Such approaches, however, have failed to address …
Most studies in the field of X have only focused on ...
Previous pub
lished studies are limited to local surveys.
Half of the studies evaluated failed to specify whether ...
The research to date has tended to focus on X rather than Y.
Previously published studies on the effect of X are not consistent.
Smith’s analysis does
not take account of ..., nor does she examine ...
The existing accounts fail to resolve the contradiction
between X and Y.
Most studies of
X have only been carried out in a small number of areas.
However, much of the research up to now has been descriptive
in nature ...
The generalisability of much published research on this issue is problematic.
Research on the subject has been mostly restricted to limited comparisons of ...
However, few writers have been able to draw on any systematic research into ...
ort
term studies such as these do not necessarily show subtle changes over time …
Although extensive research has been carried out on X, no single study exists which ...
However, these results were based upon data from over 30 years ago and it is unclear i
f ...
The experimental data are rather controversial, and there is no general agreement about ...
However, all the previous X research was cross
sectional in design. Therefore, it is unclear if
Although there are many reports in the literature on the ou
tcome of X, most are restricted to ...
Some evidence suggests that ..., although further work us
ing X is required to confirm this finding
Page
Previous studies
have failed to
consider
the impact of …
the reasons for …
the evidence for …
the ways in which …
the contexts in which …
several key aspects of …
the variable nature of …
other explanations for …
the complex nature of …
the potential impact of …
the social dimension of …
the dynamic aspects of
...
the underlying causes of …
all the possible effects of …
demographic factors t
hat
...
the ethical implications of
...
the important role played by …
the broader implications of how
...
the unique complexities faced by
...
the contextual factors that influence …
Previous studies (of X)
Most of these studies
have
mostly
mainly
largely
typically
generally
predominantly
ignored …
examined …
focused on …
concentrated on …
been concerned with …
The existing literature on X
Most of the work carried out on X
fails to …
suffers from …
lacks clarity
regarding …
ignores the possibility that …
has not distinguished between X and Y in a systematic fashion.
Page

Previous studies (of X)
Most of these studies
have
only involved …
only been carried out in …
only been undertaken using …
only provided weak evidence for …
been of poor quality.
been
limited in a number of ways.
been limited to convenience samples.
been limited to a small number of cases.
generally been restricted to the analysis of …
mainly been restricted to epidemiological observations.
Previous studies (of X)
Most of these studies
have suffered from
small sample sizes.
low response rates.
multiple design flaws.
an overemphasis on …
inconsistent definitions.
inadequate sample sizes.
poorly developed theory.
methodological limitations.
a lack of clarity in defining …
serious sampling problems.
experimental design errors.
poor case control matching.
inadequate resea
rch
design.
serious methodological flaws.
a high degree of sampling bias.
lack of instrumental sensitivity.
considerable design limitations.
the use of poorly matched controls.
a paucity of standardised measures.
notable methodological weaknesses.
fundamen
tal flaws in
research
design.
lack of a strong theoretical framework.
an over
reliance on self
report methodology.
Page
General reference to previous research or scholarship: highlighting negative outcomes
Previous studies have failed to
find
show
demonstrate
a link between …
any treatment effect
a connection between …
significant differences in …
any convincing evidence of …
a causal relationship between …
any support for the X hypothesis
any significant advantages of using …
significan
t changes
in health outcomes.
reliable, repeatable therapeutic effects of …
Recent studies have
The research to date has
not been able to
establish …
confirm earlier …
No previous study has
controlled for …
been large enough to …
completely eliminated …
distinguished between …
provided information on …
addressed the question of …
assessed the occurrence of
used a dynamic measure of …
given sufficient consideration to …
employed time
series techniques
for …
utilised verbal reports to examine the problem of …
used a method for analysing multiple factors related to …
Page
Hi
ghlighting a knowledge gap in the field of study
It is still not known
whether …
… much less is known about X.
Evidence for X has been mixed.
The nature of X remains unclear.
(Very) little is known about X in ...
What is less clear is the nature of …
What is not yet clear is the impact of X on ...
There is still uncertainty,
however, whether …
The response of X to Y
is
not fully understood.
Causal factors leading to X remain speculative.
To date
, there has been no reliable evidence that ...
The neurobiological basis of this X is poorly understood.
Little is known about X and i
t is not clear what factors
To date, only a limited number of Xs have been identified.
Much uncertainty still exists about the relationship between ...
To date, studies investigating X have produced equivocal results.
evidence that X and Y are associated with Z is weak and inconclusive.
This indicates a need to understand the various perceptions of X that exist among
It is now well established that … However, the influence of X on Y has remained unclear.
Some studies
clear
solid
reliable
definitive
empirical
convincing
conclusive
experimental
evidence that …
However,
what is
not yet
clear
known
understood
is whether …
is the role of …
is the effect of …
is the nature of …
is the importance of …
is the extent to which …
is the degree to which …
is the actual proportion of …
are the different stages of …
are the circumstances
that …
is the actual relationship between …
is the relative importance of the various factors
that ...
Page
What remains
unclear
unknown
(,
however,)
is why …
is how …
is precisely how …
is to what degree there exist
is
how different species are
distributed in …
is
how such policies and practices affect the …
is whether these two systems interact.
is whether the two conditions are related.
is whether these two factors operate independently.
However,
(exactly) how
X affects Y
X inhibits Y
X develops
X is formed
X acquires Y
X damages Y
X produces Y
X increases Y
X influences Y
X benefits from Y
X contributes to Y
remains unclear
remains poorly understood.
is (still) not yet fully
understood.
The extent to which
X affects Y
X inhibits Y
X influences Y
X moderates Y
X determines Y
X is related to Y
X plays a role in Y
X benefits from Y
X contributes to Y
changes during …
X can be applied to …
X presents a risk to Y
X corresponds with Y
X may be attributed to Y
X has been successful in …
X can be extrapolated to
the problem of X is facilitated by Y
these findings have wider relevance
lack of X is causally associated with Y
is (still)
remains
unclear.
unknown.
poorly understood.
Page
However,
several
a number of
further
critical
essential
additional
important
interesting
unresolved
unanswered
fundamental
questions remain about
the role of …
the nature of …
the effects of …
the aftermath of …
the treatment
for …
the development of …
Indicating the focus, aim, argument of a short paper
In this paper, I argue that ...
This paper has four key aims. Firstly, …
The central thesis of this paper is that ...
In the pages that follow, it will be argued that ...
this essay, I attempt to defend the view that ...
Specifically, the following issues will be addressed:
Secondly, the study aims to assess the extent to which …
This paper
argues that …
gives an account of …
discusses the case of …
analyses the impact
of …
attempts to show that …
contests the claim that …
provides an overview of …
reviews the evidence for …
reports on a study which …
addresses the question of …
presents new evidence for …
traces the development of …
explores the ways in which …
assesses the significance of …
highlights the importance of …
considers the implications of …
evaluates the effectiveness of …
critically examines the view that …
proposes a new methodology for …
surveys recent empirical studies on …
examines the relation
ship between …
compares the different ways in which …
offers a new model for understanding …
investigates the factors that determine …
describes the design and implementation of …
seeks to remedy these problems by analysing the literature of ...
Page
(primary) aim of this paper is to
explore the …
trace the history of …
assess the claim that …
review recent research into the ...
explore the relationship between …
contribute to the understanding of …
provide empirical evidence for the claim that …
prop
ose a conceptual theoretical framework based on …
The aim of this paper is to
critically
analyse
the effects of …
examine the claim that …
review the evidence for …
examine the ways in which …
review
the different approaches used to …
evaluate
the
rationale behind X’s theory of …
discuss the some of the prominent ideas which …
Stating the purpose of research
The specific objective of this study was to …
This thesis examines the way in which the ...
An objective of this study was to investigate
...
Page
explore …
The aim of
The purpose of
this study was to
this investigation has bee
n to
predict which …
establish whether …
Research questions or hypotheses
The hypothesis that will be tested is that
The research questions in this study
focused
on …
The central question in this dissertation asks how
...
Specifically, the following issues will be
addressed:
The specific questions which drive the research are:
This research seeks to address the following questions:
Page
Synopsis of the research design, method, source(s) of data
Data for this study were collected
using...
Five works will be examined, all of which …
This paper uses archival data from X to study …
A mixed
recent
survey
existing
archiv
al
historical
empirical
interview
secondary
qualitative
time
series
quantitative
longitudinal
retrospective
observational
cross
sectional
data (from X) to
assess …
explore …
analyse …
examine …
estimate …





Page
Indicating
significance
or value
This is the first study to …
This research sheds new light on …
This study provides new insights into …
This study fills a gap in the research on …
This study offers a fresh perspective on …
This work will generate fresh insight into
The study offers some important insights into ...
The present study fills a gap in the literature by …
Understanding the link between X and Y will help …
This investigation will enhance our understanding of …
This research provides the first extensive
examination of …
This is the first study to undertake a longitudinal analysis of
The importance and originality of this study is that it explores …
The present research explores, for the first time, the effects of …
The findings should make an importan
t contribution to the field of
Characterisation of X is important for our increased understanding of …
This study provides an exciting opportunity to advance our knowledge of
It is hoped that this research will contribute to a deeper understanding
of …
This study aims to contribute to this growing area of research by exploring
...
This project provided an important opportunity to advance the understanding of
...
Therefore, this study makes a major contribution to re
search on X by demonstrating
There are several important areas where this study makes an original contribution to
...
The experiment
work presented here provides one of the first investigations into how …
The study presented
here
in this thesis
in this report
is one of the first
investigations
use …
utilis
survey …
include …
explore …
employ …
examine in detail …
test the effects of …
ocus specifically on …
assess the impact of …
Giving reasons for personal Interest*
I became interested in Xs after reading ...
My
interest in this area developed while I was …
I have worked closely with X for many years and ...
This research complements an earlier study which …
My personal experience of X has prompted this research.
My main reason for choosing this topic is personal
interest.
The genesis of this thesis can be traced back to the time I spent …
It is my experience of working with X that has driven this research.
This project was conceived during my time working for X. As a medical advisor, I witnessed …
Page
Indicating limitations
The thesis does not engage with ...
This study is unable to encompass the entire …
Establishing X is beyond the scope of this study.
It is beyond the scope of this study to examine
the ...
A full discussion of X lies beyond the scope of this study.
The reader should bear in mind that the study is based on ...
Another potential problem is that the scope of my thesis may be too broad.
Due to practical constraints, this paper cannot pr
ovide a comprehensive review of...
Outlining the structure
This paper begins by
It will then go on to
The first section of this paper will
examine
...
The essay has been
organised in the following way:
The remaining part of the paper proceeds as
follows: ...
The main issues addressed in this paper are: a), b
and c).
This paper first gives a brief overview of the recent history of X.
This paper has been divided into four parts. The first part deals with
...
My thesis is composed of four themed
chapters.
The overall structure of the study takes the form of six chapters.
The thesis is divided into three distinct sections. The first section …
examines …
gives a brief review of …
contextualises the research by …
discusses the significant findings.
draws upon the entire thesis
to …
identifies areas for further research
ties
together the common themes and …
explains the emergent themes influencing
Page
The main
topics
issues
themes
periods
developments
covered in this chapter are
The aim of the chapter is to introduce …
This chapter seeks to assess the impact of …
This chapter is subdivided into three sections
This section will attempt to assess whether …
The second part highlights the key theoretical concepts which …
This cha
pter contextualises the research by providing background information on …
This chapter discusses the specific methods by which the research and analyses were conducted.
Explaining Keywords (
also
refer to
Defining Terms
Throughout this paper, the term
will refer to
...
The term ‘X’ will be used in this thesis to refer to …
Historically, the term ‘X’ has been used to describe …
It is necessary here to clarify exactly what is meant by ...
The phrase ‘X’
will be used in this study to describe the …
According to Smith (2002), X can be defined as follows: ‘ ... ’
In this article, the
abbreviation XYZ will be used
to refer to ..
Throughout this dissertation, the term
will be used to refer to ...
The te
rm
is a relatively new name for
, commonly referred to as
In this essay, the term
will be used in its broadest sense to refer to all ...
In this dissertation, the terms
and
are used interchangeably to mean ...
While a variety of defi
nitions of the term
have been suggested, this paper will use the definition
first suggested by Smith (1968) who saw it as
Page
Referring
to L
iterature
One of the distinguishing features of academic writing is that it is informed by what is
already
known, what work has been done before, and/or what ideas and mode
ls have already been
developed.
Thus,
in
academic
texts,
writers frequently make reference to
other studies and to
the
work of
other
authors
It is important that writers guide their readers through this literature.
This
section
of
Academic Phrasebank
lists
some of the
phrases that writers may use for this purpose.
A note on the literature review:
It is the purpose of the literature review sect
ion of a paper or
dissertation to show the reader, in a systematic way, what is already known about the research
topic as a whole, and to outline the key ideas and theories that help us to understand this. As well
as being systematic, the review should be
evaluative and critical of the studies or ideas which are
relevant to the
current work.
For example, you may think a particular study did not investigate
some important aspect of the area you are researching, that the author
failed to notice a
weakness
A note on ve
rb tenses: For general reference to the literature, the present p
erfect tense (have/has +
verb
participle
) tends to be used. For reference to specific studies carried out in the past, the simple
past tense is most commonly used. This is
normally
the case w
here a specific date or
point in
time
in the past forms a part of the sentence. When referring to the words or ideas of writers, the
present tense is often used if the ideas are still relevant, even if the author is no longer alive. The
examples given
below
reflect these general patterns, but these are by no means rigid.
General descriptions of the relevant literature
The literature on X
has highlighted several …
Different theories exist in the literature regarding …
More recent attention has focused on the provision of
There are relatively few historical studies in the area of …
A great deal of previous research into X has focused on
...
A large and growing body of literature has investigated
...
Much of the
literature since the mid
1990s emphasises the …
Much of the current literature on X pays particular attention to ...
There is a large volume of published studies describing the role of
...
The existing literature on X is extensive and focuses particularly
on …
There is a relatively small body of literature that is concerned with …
The generalisability of much published research on this issue is problematic.
A considerable amount of literature has been published on X. These studies
...
What we know about X
is largely based upon empirical studies that investigate how
The academic literature on X has revealed the emergence of several contrasting themes.
Page
Much of
The greater part of
the literature on
ignores …
comes from …
focusses on …
is descriptive.
acknowledges …
takes as its focus …
is concerned with …
lacks clarity regarding …
is exploratory in nature.
pays particular attention to ...
seems to have been based on …
Previous research: h
istory
Research into X has a long history.
For many years, this phenomenon was surprisingly neglected by …
Only in the past ten years have studies of X directly addressed how …
Prior to the work of
Smith (1983), the role of X was largely unknown.
Over the past decade,
most research in X has emphasis
ed the use of ...
In recent years, there has been an increasing amount of literature on ...
Early examples of research into X
include … (Smith, 1962; Jone
, 1974).
During the past 30 years, much more information has become available on ...
The first serious discussions and analyses of X emerged during the 1970s with ...
Over the past two decades
major advances in molecular biology have allowed …
Historically, research investigating the factors associated with X has focused on …
It is only since the work of Smith (2001) that the study of X has gained momentum
The construct of X was first articulated by Smith (1977) and popularised in his book: …
t was not until the late 1960s that historians considered X worthy of scholarly attention.
Awareness of X is not recent, having possibly first been described in the 5th century B
by …
Around the early 1960
small
scale research and case studies began to
emerge linking the use of …
Previous research
pproaches taken
Most research on X has been carried out in …
Most researchers investigating X have utilised …
Using this approach, researchers have been able to …
The majority of previous studies on X are
based on …
Several systematic reviews of X have been undertaken.
The vast majority of stud
ies on X have been quantitative.
What we know about X is largely based on observational studies.
There are
number of large cross
sectional studies which suggest …
uch of the previous research on X has been exploratory in nature.
uch of the X research has focus
ed on identifying and evaluating the …
Publications that concentrate on X more frequently adopt a histor
ical or chronological approach …
Page
What we know about
X is largely based upon
case
clinical
empirical
qualitative
simulation
laboratory
longitudinal
comparative
experimental
observational
epidemiological
studies that investigate how ...
Recent studies have
The research to date has
been
conducted
using …
carried out using …
largely exploratory.
qualitative in nature.
designed to determine whether …
based on relatively small sample sizes.

General r
eference to previous r
esearch or scholarship:
normally more than one author
Several lines of evidence suggest that …
Previous research has established that …
a from several studies suggest
that …
It is now well establi
shed from a variety of studies
that …
A number of studies have postulated a
convergence between …
Surveys such as that conducted by Smith (1988) have shown that ...
Many recent studies (e.g. Smith, 2001; Jones, 2005) have shown that …
Traditionally, it has been argued that ...
(e.g. Smith, 1960; Jones
, 1972).
Twenty cohort study a
nalyses have examined the relationship between ...
Several biographies of Brown have been published. Smith (2013) presents ...
In previous studies on X, different variables have been found to be related to ...
A number of authors have considered the effect
s of …
(Smith, 2003; Jones, 2004).
Many historians have argued that ... (e.g. Jones, 1987; Johnson, 1990; Smith, 1994).
There is a consensus among social scientists that ... (e.g. Jones, 1987; Johnson, 1990; ...
Data from several sources have identified th
e increased X and Y associated with obesity.
At least 120 case
Page
It has been
noted that …
argued that …
shown that …
thought that …
assumed that …
reported that …
observed that …
suggested
that …
established that …
demonstrated that ….
conclusively shown that
Previous
Several
studies of X
surveys of X
investigations of X
have
found …
revealed …
reported …
identified …
established …
demonstrated …
shown significant increases
To date
Thus far
Up to now
several studies
previous studies
a number of studies
have
used …
found …
reported …
shown that…
indicated that …
linked X with Y
suggested that …
demonstrated that …
tested the efficacy of …
identified a link
between …
investigated the effects of…
begun to examine the use of …
confirmed the effectiveness of …
used longitudinal data to examine …
examined the association between …
attempted to evaluate the impact of …
reveale
d a correlation between X and Y
anal
ysed the accuracy and precision of …
expl
ored the relationships between X and Y
highlighted factors that are associated with …
Page
Several recent studies investigating X have been carried out on …
Recent evidence suggests that ... (Smith, 1996; Jones,
1999; Johnson, 2001).
Recently, in vitro studies have shown that X can ...
(Smith
et al.
, 1997; Jones
et al.
, 1998).
In recent years, a few authors have begun to … (Smith, 1996; Jones, 1999; Johnson, 2001).
Reference to current state of knowledge
X is
positively related to Y (Smith, 2007).
X is one of the most inte
nse reactions following Y (Jones
, 2003).
X is a principal determining factor of Y (Smith, 2005; Jones, 2013).
There is an unambiguous r
elationship between X and Y (Smith
, 1998).
is significantly reduced during the first months of …
(Smith, 2000; Jones, 2006).
X has been found to oppose the anti
inflamm
atory actions of Y on Z (Smith
, 2004).
GM varieties of X are able to cross
pollinate with non
GM varieties (Smith, 1998; Jones, 2
009).
A relationship exists between an individual’s working memory and their ability to ... (Jones, 2002).
General reference to previous research or scholarship: highlighting negative outcomes
Previous studies have failed to
find
show
demonstrate
a (an
y) benefit in …
a (any) link between …
a (any) treatment effect.
a (any)
protective effect of …
a (any) correlation between …
Prior studies have
Recent studies have
The research to date has
not been able to
establish …
confirm earlier …
Page
General reference to previous research or scholarship:
research topic prominent
X has been proposed to explain how …
The X problem has been extensively
studied.
Xs have been studied extensively in vitro, using …
X has been intensively investigated recently due to its …
Markers for the prediction of X have been widely investigated.
X has also been shown to reverse the anti
inflammatory effects of Y in …
These effects have been shown in X (e.g., Smith
et al
., 1981; Jones, 1996).
Factors thought to be influencing X have been explored in several studies.
The geology of X has been addressed in several small
scale investigations and ...
The roles of X have bee
n studied extensively
(Jones, 1989; Johnson, 1994; Smith, 1998).
The causes of X have been widely investigated (Jones, 1987; Johnson, 1990; Smith, 1994).
X has been identified as a major contributing factor to the decline of many species of … (1).
The rela
detailed
thorough
complete
influential
important
well
known
comprehensive
widely
accepted
account of X is to
be
found in the work of …
Page
Reference to single investigations in the past:
researcher prominent
Smith’s comparative study (2012) found that ...
Jones’s comprehensive review concluded that …
Brown’s (1992) model of X a
ssumes three main ...
Smith’s cross
country analysis (2012) showed that ...
Smith
et al
. (1984)
reported …
identified …
found that …
showed that
demonstrated that


To examine this issue …
To compare the X with Y, …
Smith
et al.
(1984) carried out a series of experiments
Jones
et al.
(2011
compared the rate of …
labelled these subsets as ...
measured both components of the ...
used a
survey to assess the various ...
identified parents of disabled children as ...
set up a series of virtual experiments using …
examined the flow of international students ...
carried out a number of investigations into the ...
studied the effects of X on u
nprotected nerve cells.
analysed the data from 72 countries and concluded that ...
interviewed 250 undergraduate students using semi
structured ...
performed a similar series of experiments in the 1960s to show that ...
reviewed the literature from the
period and found little evidence for this ...
conducted a series of trials in which he mixed X with different quantities of ...
investigated the differential impact of formal and non
formal education on ...





Page
Reference to single investigations in
the past: investigation prominent
One longitudinal study found that …
A seminal study in this area is the work of
One study by Smith (2014) examined the trend in
...
A recent study by Smith and Jones (2012) involved
...
A qualitative study by Smith (2
003) described how …
A recent systematic literature review concluded that …
Preliminary work on X was undertaken by Jones (1992).
A longitudinal study of X by Smith (2012) reports that
...
A key study comparing X and Y is that of Smith (2010), in which
...
The first systematic
study of X was reported by Smith
et al.
in 1986.
Detailed exa
mination of X by Smith and Jones
(1961) showed that
...
Analysis of the genes involved in X was first carried out by Smith
et al
(1983).
A significant analysis and discuss
ion on the subject was presented by Smith (1988).
The study of the structural behaviour o
f X was first carried out by Jones
et al.
(1986)
A small sca
le study by Smith (2012) reached
different conclusions, finding no increase in
The study by Jones (1990) offers probably the most comprehensive
empirical analysis
of …
In an analysis of X, Smith
et al.
(2012) found ...
In a follow
up study, Smith
et al.
(2009) found that
In an investigation into X, Smith
et al.
(2012) found ...
a study investigating X, Smith (2004) reported that …
In a comprehensive study of X, Jones (2001) found that …
In a study conducted by Smith (1978), it was shown that …
In studies of rats given
X, Smith and
colleagues found that …
Page
Reference to what other writers do in their text: author
prominent
In Chapter 2, Smith provides us with a number of important ...
In the
subsequent chapter, Smith examines the extent to which ...
By drawing on the concept of X, Smith has been able to show that ...
Some analysts (e.g. Jones
, 2002) have attempted to draw fine distinctions between ...
Drawing on an extensive range of sources,
In her review of ...,
In her major study,
In her seminal article,
In her case study of
In her introduction to
In her classic critique of ...,
In her historical account of …,
In her interesting analysis of …,
Smith (2012) identifies five characteristics of ...
Smith (2014
distinguishes …
calls our attention to …
stresses the role played by …
draws a
distinction between …
emphasises the importance of …
challenges the misconception that …
pinpoints a number of similarities between …
identifies X, Y, and Z as the major causes of ...
draws on an extensive range of sources to assess ...
highlights the
Referring to secondary sources
mith (1973, cited in Jones, 2002) points out that …
Smith draws on the work of Jones (1959) who suggested that …
Building on the work of Jones (2000), Smith (2005) argues that …
Smith (2003)
revisits and updates the Jones (1996) model of X by …
Smith (2000, citing Jones, 1998) points out, X has been shown to result in …
The view
that
is
supported by Smith (2003) who draws on Jones’
(1996) comparison of …
Page
Reference to anot
her writer’s ideas or position:
author
prominent
As argued by Smith (2003)
X is far more cost effective, and therefore ...
According to Smith (2003), preventative medicine is far more cost effective, and therefore ...
Smith (2013)
claims
argues
suggests
maintains
concludes
points out
that
preventative medicine is far more cost effective
than …
Smith (2013)
offers
suggests
proposes
argues for
makes the case for …
an explanatory theory for
Synthesising sources
: supporting
Similarly, Jones
(2006) found that X
...
In the same vein, Smith (1994) in his book XYZ notes
This view is supported by Jones (2000) who writes that
...
Smith argues that her data support O’Brien’s (1988) view that
...
Jones
’s (1986) work on X is complemented by Smith’
s (2009) study of
Almost every paper that has been written on X includes a section relating to
...
Smith (2013) sees X as ...
Smith
(2013)
argues that ...
Jones (2014), like Smith, maintains that …
Like Smith, Jones (2014) maintains that ...
Similarly, Jones (2013)
makes the case for …
Likewise, Jones (2013
) holds the view that ...
Supporting this view, Jones (2014) writes that …
Adopting a similar position, Jones (2014) argues that …
In the same ve
in, Jones (2013
) in his book
notes ...



Page
Synthesising sources: contrasting
Other studies have concluded that …
Unlike Smith, Jones (2013) argues that
...
In contrast to Smith, Jones (2013) argues that
...
A broader perspective has been adopted by Smith (213) who argues that
...
Contrary to previously published studies,
Johnson
et al.
demonstrated the efficacy of…
Conversely, Smith
(2010) reported no significant difference in mortality between X and Y.
Smith (2010) presents an X account, whilst Jones (2011) ...
While Smith
(2008) focu
ses on X, Jones (2009) is more concerned with ...
Some writers (e.g. Smith, 2002) have
attempted to draw fine distinctions between ...
Others (see Jones, 2003; Brown, 2004) question
the usefulness of ...
Some authors have mainly
been interested in
questions concerning X (Smith, 2001; Jones ...)
Others have h
ighlighted the relevance of …
Whilst Smith identifies X as the principal
dimension of Y,
Jones (2000) has taken a different approach by
focusing on …
Contrasting
sources with ‘however’ for emphasis
Much of the available literature on X deals with
the question of ...
However,
Smith (2008) is much more concerned
with ...
According to some studies, X is represented as
… (Smith, 2012; Davis, 2014)
However, o
thers propose … (Jones, 2014; Brown,
Smith (2013) found that X accounted for
approximately 30
% of Y.
Other researchers, however, who have looked at
X, have found ...
Jones (2010), for example, ...
Smith
(2002) reports that
...
Jone
s’ (2010) study of Y
, however,
found
little
evidence of
...
Page
Some ways of introducing quotations
Commenting on X, Smith (2003) argues: ‘
As Jones (201
4: 215) states: ‘there are many good reasons to be sceptical’.
As Smith argues: ‘In the past, the purpose of education was to
...
Smith,
2000:150).
In the final part of the
Theses
on Feuerbach
, Marx writes: ‘Philosophers have hitherto only
Sachs concludes: ‘The idea of development stands today like a ruin in …’ (
Sachs, 1992a: 156).
As Smith
notes: ‘...
... ... ... ...’
writes: ‘... ... ... ... ...’
argues: ‘... ... ... ... ...
observes: ‘... ... ... ... ...’
po
ints out: ‘... ... ... ... ...’
minds us: ‘... ... ... ... ...’
(Smith 201
3: 23).
Summarising the
studies reviewed
suggest that …
suggest the efficacy of …
suggest an inverse association between …
suggest that the self
report method possesses
suggest that both X and Y play a role in the development of
illustrate how …
illustrate the role of …
illustrate the flexibility of …
illustrate the heterogeneity of …
illustrate just how important X is in …
Page
Overall, these studies
highlight the need for ...
highlight the complexity of …
highlight the
positive aspects of …
highlight the beneficial effects of …
highlight the unique relationship between …
indicate a link between
consistently indicate that …
clearly indicate the importance of …
indicate that Xs are often important predictors of …
indicate that the X has only a slight impact, if any, on …
provide mixed evidence for …
provide converging evidence for …
provide evidence for the usefulness of …
provide strong evidence for the efficacy of
provide reasonably consistent evidence
an association between ...
show weak evidence of
...
show that Xs may serve as important
...
show a modest correlation between X and Y.
show that X is caused by a complex system of …
show that a change from X to Y is usually associated with …
Summarisin
g the literature review section
he previous section has shown that …
In conclusion, these studies show that …
The evidence reviewed here seems to
suggest …
To conclude this section, the literature identifies …
This review has demonstrated the sh
ortcomings of …
In summary, it has been shown from this review that …
Page
Describing Methods
In the
ethods section of a dissertation or research article, writers give an account of how they
carried out their research. The
in this section, the
verbs are w
ritten in the simple past tense and are passive.
Describing previously used methods
Many
researchers
have utilis
ed X to measure …
One of the most well
known tools for assessing …
Traditionally, X has been assessed by measuring ...
A number of
techniques have been developed to …
Different methods have been proposed to classify …
X is the main non
invasive method used to determine ...
Different authors have measured X in a variety of ways.
Several methods currently exist for the measurement of X.
Previous studies have based their criteria for selection on ...
employed …
based their approaches on …
used model systems to predict …
adopted functionalist perspectives
utilised a population
based approach.
relied upon participant observation as …
Page
Various
Different
assess …
test for…
identify …
capture …
quantify …
measure …
Giving reasons why a particular method was adopted
A major advantage of X is that …
benefit of this approach is that …
The decision to use X was based on …
to
ensure that
to help understand how …
to allow a deeper insight into …
to conduct this exploratory study.
to evaluate
the effectiveness of …
to gain a detailed understanding of …
to determine the factors that affect
...
to assess the management practices of …
to obtain
further in
depth information on the ...
to capture the complexities of the phenomenon.
to provide
rounded, detailed illustrations of the
Page
A(n)
One
major
distinct
obvious
practical
potential
additional
important
significant
advantage
of using
scores
focus groups
a rating scale
secondary data
self
report data
longitudinal data
retrospective data
regression analysis
natural speech data
semi
structured interviews
a convenience sample
a case study approach
a comparative approach
is that …
X is one of the most
successful
widely
used
commonly
used
dating …
gathering …
collecting …
evaluating …
estimating …
measuring …
identifying …
Referring to the literature to justify a method or approach
In a recent article, Smith
(2009) argues that case studies offer …
Smith
et al.
(1994) identify several advantages of the case study ...
Jones (2012) argues that case studies are useful when the conditions of the research …
According to Smith (2011), semi
structured interviews have
a wide
spread popularity in …
The sensitivity of the X technique has been demonstrated in a report by Smith
et al.
(2011).
Jones (2006) points out that there is a role for both qualitative and quantitative approaches in …
Giving reasons why a particular
method was rejected
The limitation of this approach is that …
A disadvantage of many cohort studies is that …
A major problem with the experimental method is that ...
Page
Indicating a specific method
Describing the characteristics of the sample
The cohort was divided into two groups
according to
...
A random sample of patients with ... was recruited from ...
Articles were searched fr
om January 1965 until April 2014
The sample was representative with respect to gender and …
Forty
seven students studying X were recruited for this
study.
A systematic literature review was conducted of studies that ...
Just over half the sample (53%) was female, of whom 69% were
...
Of the initial cohort of 123 students, 66 were female and 57 male.
Eligible women who matched the selection criteria
were identified by …
Only children aged between 10 and 15 years were included in the study.
The participants
were divided into two groups based on their performance on
...
Two groups of subjects were interviewed, namely X and Y. The first group were ...
e project used a convenience sample of 32 first year modern languages students.
All of the participants were aged between 18 and 19 at the beginning of the study
All studies described as using some sort of X procedure were included in the analysis.
Part
icipants were recruited from 15 clinics across
...
, covering urban and rural areas
The initial sample consisted of 200 students, 75 of whom belonged to minority groups.
Semi
structured interviews were conducted with 17 male offenders with a mean age of
38 years
Indicating
criteria for
selection or inclusion
Criteria for selecting the subjects were as follows:
Publications were o
nly included in the analysis if
The participants in this study were recruited from …
To identify X, the following
parameters were used
The area of study was chosen for its relatively small ...
Primary inclusion criteria for the X participants were …
Eligibility criteria required individuals to have received ...
Five individuals were excluded from the study on the basis of
...
A small sample was chosen becau
se of the expected difficulty in
obtaining
...
The subjects
were selected on the basis of the
degree of homogeneity of their
A comparison group of 12 male
subjects without any history of X was drawn from a pool of
Page
Describing the process: typical verbs
in the passive form
All participants
were sent
he data
were
normalised
using
...
Ethical approval
was
obtained from
...
Drugs
were
administered by
icv injection …
Descriptive data
were
generated for
all variables.
The procedures of this study
were approved
by
...
Prompts
were used as
an aid to question two so that ...
Data
were collected
using
semi
structured
interviews in …
Participants
were
thanked
for their time and effort and for …
The experiments
were run
using custom software written in
...
A total of 256 samples
were taken from
52 boreholes (Figure 11).
The solution
was washed
three times
with
deionized water and
...
Significance levels
were set at
the 1% level using the student t
test.
Data management and analysis
were
performed
using SPSS 16.0 (2010).
Published studies
were identified
using a search strategy developed in
ata
were gathered
from multiple sources at various time points during ...
Injection solutions
were coded by
a colleague to reduce experimenter bias.
The pilot interviews
were conducted informally by
the trained interviewer
Article references
were searched
further for additional relevant publications.
The experiments
were conducted over
the course of the growing period from ...
Blood samples
were obtained with
consent, from 256 Caucasian male patients
...
The participants
were asked to
pay close attention to the characters whenever ...
Independent tests
were carried out on
the
and
scores for the four years from
...
This experiment
was repeated under
conditions in which the poor signal/noise ratio was improved.
The mean score for the
two trials
was subjected to
multivariate analysis of variance to determine
participants were asked
to rate …
to recall …
to attend …
to indicate …
to say whether …
to comment on …
to complete two tasks.
whether they believed …
to provide
feedback on …
a variety of questions about …
to describe an instance when …
to explain what happened during
a series of open
ended questions that …
to describe what had happened when …
to
complete a 20 question survey about …


Page
Describ
ing the process: sequence words and
phrases
To begin this process, ...
The first step in this process was to ...
Prior to
After
‘training’, the participants
were told that ...
collection, the samples were shipped back to X in ...
testing for the presence of antibodies, the blood was …
the appliance was fitted, the patients att
ended X every four weeks.

arrival at the clinic, patients were asked to ...
completion of X, the process of parameter estimation was carried out
obtaining written informed consent from the patients, a questionnaire was …
Once
the samples were extracted, it was first necessary to …
the Xs were located and marked, a thin clear
plastic ruler ...
Following
correction for ..., X was reduced to ...
conformational analysis of X, it
was necessary to ...
administration of X to patients, we assessed the effects on …
this
treatment
, the samples were recovered and stored overnight at ...

The
participants
were
then
shown a film individually and were asked to ...

The soil was
then
weighed again, and this weight was recorded as ...

These ratings were
then
made for the ten stimuli to which the subject had been exposed ...

The preparation was
then
placed in a custom
buil
t microfluidics chamber, covered with
When
dividing X, care was taken to ...
removing X, it was important to ...
inviting the participants, the purpose of the research was clearly explained.
Finally, questions were asked as to the role of ...
In
the follow
up phase of the study, participants were asked ...
The final
stage of the study comprised
a semi
structured interview with participants who …
Page
Describing the process: using + instrument
All the work on the computer was carried out
using
...
Data were collected
using
two high spectral resolution Xs.
Semi
automated genotyping was carried out
using
X software and ...
Using
the X
ray and looking at the actual X, it was possible to identify ...


The resulting solution was
gently

mixed at room temperature for …

A sample of the concentrate was then
carefully
injected into ...
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 tubes were
accurately
reweighed to six decimal places using ...
Describing the process: infinitive of purpose
In order to investigate the
effects of …
In order to identify …, the participants were asked to ...
In order to help familiarise participants with …, they were asked to …
In order to address these ethical concerns, the following steps were taken: …
In order to understand how X regula
tes Y, a series of transfections was performed.
To avoid …
To test whether …
Page
Describing the process: other phrases expressing purpose
For the attitude questions, a Likert scale was used.
For the
purpose of analysis, two segments were extracted from each ...
For the purpose
of height measurement, participants were
asked to stand ...
For the estimation of protein concentration, 100 µL of protein sample was mixed with ...
Describing the process: s
tatistical procedures
The data
were normalised
using
...

A
value 0.05
was considered
significant.
Descriptive data
were generated
for all variables.
Reliability
was calculated
using Cronbach’s alpha.
All analyses
were carried out
using SPSS, version 20.
Non
parametric tests
were used
to compare the number of …
Independent sample t
tests
were carried out
to assess whether …
Statistical analysis
was performed
using SPSS software (version 20).
Significance levels
Data management and analysis
were performed
using SPSS 16.0 (2010).
A Pearson correlation analysis
was conducted
in order to assess the strength of …
The mean score for the two trials
was subjected
to multivariate
analysis of variance to determine
Indicating problems or limitations
In particular, the analysis of X was problematic.
In observational studies, there is a potential for bias from …
small size of the dataset meant that it was
not possible to
...
Further data collection is required to determine exactly how X affects Y.
Another major source of uncertainty is in the method used to calculate X.
In this investigation there are several sources for error. The main error is ...
It was not possible to inv
estigate the significant relationships of X and Y further because…
The responses relating to X were subjective and were therefore susceptible to recall bias.
Page
Reporting Results
The standard approach to this section of a research article or dissertation is to present and describe
the results in a systematic and detailed way. When reporting qualitative results, the researcher will
highlight and comment on the themes that emerge fro
m the analysis. These comments will often be
illustrated with excerpts from the raw data. In text based studies, this may comprise quotations from
the
primary sources. In quantitative studies, the results section is likely to consist of tables and
figures,
and writers comment on the significant data shown in these. This often takes the form of the
location or summary statement, which identifies the table or figure and indicates its content, and a
highlighting statement or statements, which point out and des
cribe the relevant or significant data.
All figures and tables should be numbered and given a title.
More elaborate commentary on the results is normally restricted to the Discussion section. In
research articles, however, authors may comment extensively
on their results as they are presented,
and it is not uncommon for the Results section to be combined with the Discussion section under
the heading: Results and Discussion.
Reference to aim
, research
questions or
method
an overview of ...
the experimental data on X
the summary statistics
for ...
the breakdown of X according to ...
the median and range of scores for each group.
the intercorrelations among the nine measures of X
the results obtained fro
m the preliminary analysis of X
Page
Highlight
ing
significant data in a table or
chart
What stands out in the table is …
Closer inspection of the table
shows …
It is apparent from this table that very few ...
The most interesting aspect of this graph is …
In Fig.10 there is a clear trend of decreasing …
What is striking about the figures in this table is …
What is interesting about the
data in
this table
is
that ...
As shown in Figure 1,
Looking at Figure 3, it is
apparent that
As can be seen from the table (above),
From the graph above we can see that
It can be seen from the data in Table 1 that
the X group reported significantly more Y than the
other two groups.
The table below illustrates
The pie chart above
shows
The top half of the table shows
The bottom half of the table shows
the proportion of different categories of
The results of the correlational analysis
The themes identified in these responses
The results obtained from the preliminary
analysis of X
are shown
are set out
are displayed
are presented
are summarised
can be seen
can be compared
in Table 1.
in Figure 1.
Page
What stands out in this
table
chart
figure
is the growth of …
is the high rate of …
is the dominance of …
is the wide range of …
is the rapid decrease in …
is the general pattern of …
is the
difference between …
Statements of
positive result
The mean score for X was
Further analysis showed that ...
Further statistical tests revealed ...
A two
way ANOVA revealed that ...
On average, Xs were shown to have ...
Strong evidence of X was found when
...
This result is significant at the
= 0.05 level.
The results, as shown in Table 1, indicate that ...
A positive correlation was found between X and Y.
There was a significant positive correlation between ...
The dif
ference between the X and Y groups was significant.
There was a significant difference in X,
(11) = 2.906,
0.01
There was a significant difference between the two conditions ...
Respondents who reported low levels of X also reported significantly lower
levels of Y
Statements of
negative result
No increase in X was detected.
No difference greater than X was observed.
No significant differences were found between
...
None of these differences were statistically significant.
No significant difference
between the two groups was evident.
No significant reduction in X was found compared with placebo.
No evidence was found for non
linear associations between X and Y
No significant correlation was found between X scores and the Y scores (
.274
Only
trace amounts of X were detected in ...
There was no evidence that X has an influence on …
The Chi
increase of X associated with ...
significant difference
between ...
evidence that X has
an influence on …
observed difference in the number of …
Page
Reporting a reaction
Stimulation of X cells with Y did not increase the ...
With successive increases in intensity of the X, the Y moved further to ...
Follow
ing the addition of X, a
significant increase (
0.05) in the Y was recorded.
When X cells were stimulated with Y, no significant difference in the number of Z was detected.
Highlighting significant, interesting or surprising results
Interestingly, the X was observed to ...
This
result is somewhat counterintuitive.
Interestingly, this correlation is related to ...
The more surprising correlation is with the ...
Surprisingly, only a minority of respondents …
The most surprising aspect of the data is in the
The correlation
between X and Y is interesting because ...
The most striking result to emerge from the data is that ...
Interestingly, there were also differences in the ratios of ...
The single most striking observation to emerge from the data comparison was ...
This
is a
(rather)
surprising
significant
interesting
remarkable
unexpected
disappointing
result.
outcome.



No statistically
significant
ifference
correlation
One
A further
An important
issue
theme
factor
problem
concept
category
that emerged
from the data was …
from the interviews was …
during
the pilot interviews was …
at the initial stages of the analytic process was …
Page
Surveys and interviews: Reporting response rates
The overall response to the survey was poor
Thirty
Surveys and interviews:
Reporting
proportions
Over half of those surveyed reported that ...
A minority of participants (17%) indicated that ...
70% of those who were interviewed indicated that
...
Almost two
thirds of the participants (64%) said that
The majority of those who
responded to this item felt that ...
Surveys and interviews: Reporting participants’
views
It was suggested that ...
One interviewee argued that …
There were some suggestions that ...
In all cases, the informants reported
that …
n their accounts of the events surrounding ...
There were some negative comments about ...
The participants on the whole demonstrated ...
Some felt that … , while others
considered that …
Some interviewees argued that … , while others …
This view was echoed by another informant who ..
Whilst a minority mentioned that…, all agreed that…
Only a small number of respondents indicated that ...
A small number of those interviewe
d suggested that ....
For a small number of participants X was the reason for …
The majority of participants agreed with the statement that …
When asked about X, the participants were unanimous in the view that …
Page
One
Some
A few
A number of
majority of
A small number of
The overwhelming majority of
informant(s)
participant(s)
interviewee(s)
felt that …
said that …
stated that …
argued that …
reported that …
indicated that …
proposed that …
remarked that …
suggested that …
commented
that …
referred to …
emphasised …
attributed X to …
explicitly referred to …
Surveys and interviews:
Introducing excerpts from interview data
As one interviewee said: ‘...’
s one interviewee put it: ‘...’
One informant reported that ...
The comment below illustrates ...
One participant commented: ‘ ...’
For example, one interviewe
e said: ‘...’
In one case, the participant thought that …
Another interviewee, when asked …, said: ‘...’
Other responses to
this question included: ‘...’
Another interviewee alluded to the
notion of ...
Talking about this issue an interviewee said: ‘...’
Commenting on X, one of the interviewees said …
One individual stated that ‘...’ And another commented ‘...’
Page
Reporting
important
themes in
qualitative data
Another reported problem
was …
Page
Discussing Findings
The term
discussion
Caution
).
Background information:
reference to literat
ure or to research aim/question
Several reports have shown that …
As mentioned in the literature review,
...
The third question in this research was
...
Prior studies that have noted the importance of
...
An initial objective of the project was to identify
...
triking
important
disturbing
significant
interesting
compelling
unexpected
clinically relevant
finding is …
Page
Unexpected outcome
What is surprising is that ...
Surprisingly, X was found to
One unanticipated finding was that
...
What is curious about this result is that …
Surprisingly, no differences were found in
...
This finding was unexpected and suggests that
One unexpected finding was the extent to
which …
It is somewhat surprising that no X was noted in this condition
...
The weak association of X with Y is interesting, but not surprising
One surprising variable that was found to be significantly associated with X was …
These findings are somewhat
surprising given the fact that other research shows …
Contrary to expectations, this study did not find a significant difference between
...
However, the observed difference between X and Y in this study was not significant.
However, the ANOVA (one way) sh
owed that these results were not statistically significant.
It was surprising that the X group scores did not differ significantly from those of
the Y
group
Reference to previous research: support
This study confirms that X is associated with ...
This
finding is consistent with that of Smith (2000) who …
Comparison of the findings with those of other studies confirms …
This also accords with our earlier observations, which showed that ...
These results reflect those of Smith
et al.
(1992) who also found
that …
Increased activation in the X in this study corroborates these earlier findings.
This finding broadly supports the work of other studies in this area linking X with Y
In accordance with the present results, previous studies have demonstrated that
...
It is encouraging to compare this figure with that found by Jones (1993) who found that ...
Consistent with the literature
, this
research found that participants who reported using X also …
This study supports evidence from clinical observations (e.g.
Smith, 1997; Jones
et al
., 1994) that …
This study produced results which corroborate the findings of a great deal of the previous work in ...
There are similarities between the attitudes expressed by X in this study and those described by
(Smith, 1987, 19
These results
further support the idea of ...
confirm the association between ...
are consistent with data obtained in …
match those observed in earlier studies.
are in line with those of previous studies.
are in agreement with those obtained by …
e in accord with recent studies indicating that …
agree with the findings of other studies, in which ...
seem to be consistent with other research which found ...
mirror those of the previous studies that have examined ...
are consistent with those of
Smith and Jones (2015) who
are in keeping with previous observational studies, which ...
are in agreement with Smith’s (1999) findings which showed ...
support previous research into this brain area which links X and Y.
corroborate the ideas of Smith a
nd Jones (2008), who suggested that ...
Page
Reference to previous research
: contradict
This study has been unable to demonstrate that
...
However, this result has not previously been described.
This outcome is contrary to that of Smith
et al
. (2001) who foun
This finding is contrary to previous studies which have suggested that …
In contrast to earlier findings, however, no evidence of X was detected.
The yields in this investigation were higher compared to those of other studies
However, the findings of
the current study do not support the previous research.
Smith
et
(1999) showed that …. This differs from the findings presented here
The overall level was found to be 15%, lower than that of previously reported levels.
It has been suggested that … (Smith
et al
., 2002). This does not appear to be the case.
The levels observed in this investigation are far below those observed by Smith
et al
2007).
These results differ from X’s 2003 estimate of Y, but they are broadly
consistent with earlier ...
Although, these results differ from some published studies (Smith, 1992; Jones, 1996), they are
consistent with those of
...
Explanations for results
A possible
explanation
for this might be that
Another possible
explanation
for this is that
...
This result may be
explained
by the fact that ...
There are, however, other possible
explanations
These relationships may partly be
explained
by …
There are several possible
explanations
for this result.
Several factors co
uld explain this observation. F
irstly
A possible
explanation
for these results may be the lack of adequate
These differences can be
explained
in part by the proximity of X and Y.
These factors may
explain
the relatively good correlation between X and Y.
This inconsistency may be due to ...
These results are likely to be related to …
This discrepancy could be attributed to ...
It seems possible that these results are due to ...
This rather contradictory
result may be due to ...
The observed increase in X could be attributed to
It is difficult to explain this result, but it might be related to ...
This finding could have been generated by misclassification bias since …
Another possible alternative explan
ation of our findings is that they are due to …
The possible interference of X cannot be ruled out.
It may be that these participants benefitted from
...
Differences between X and Y may have influenced ...
These possible sources of error could have
affected …
There are two likely causes for the differences between ...
This result may reflect differences in the size, quality and …
Page
his
(rather)
intriguing
interesting
surpri
sing
unexpected
disappointing
result
finding
could be due to
may be related to …
might be a result of …
could be attributed to …
can be explained by X.
might be explained by
the fact that …
Advising cautious interpretation
Another source of uncertainty is …
Additional uncertainty arises from …
A note of caution is due here since …
These findings may
be somewhat
limited by …
The possible interference of X cannot be ruled
out.
These findings cannot be extrapolated to all patients.
are due to …
are limited to …
are only valid for …
do not represent the …
have been confounded by
may have been skewed by …
might be biased because of …
could be a statistical
anomaly.
were influenced by the lack of …
merely reflect a selection effect.
may underestimate the role of …
are not a true representation of …
underestimate the true prevalence of …
might not be applicable to other groups …
are an artefact of our
experimental design.
are biased, given the self
reported nature of …
will not be reproducible on a wide scale across …
may not be generalisable to a broader range of
...



Page
Commenting on findings
These findings are rather disappointing.
However, these
results were not very encouraging.
The test was successful as it was able to identify students who ...
The present results are significant in at least two
major
respects.
Unfortunately, these findings are rather difficult to interpret because …
This is a/
These are
key
useful
positive
valuable
troubling
surprising
important
significant
interesting
reassuring
remarkable
encouraging
disappointing
result(s)
finding(s)
This is a
These are
rather
somewhat
particularly
seful
troubling
surprising
reassuring
remarkable
encouraging
disappointing
result(s)
finding(s)
Suggesting general hypotheses
These findings suggest that ...
It is possible, therefore, that ...
It can thus be suggested that ...
In general, therefore, it seems
that ...
The findings reported here suggest that …
According to these data, we can infer that …
It is possible/likely/probable therefore that ...
The present study raises the possibility that ...
Hence, it could conceivably be hypothesised that ...
This
observation may support the hypothesis that …
It may be the case therefore that these variations ...
It is therefore likely that such connections exist between ...
The value of X suggests that a weak link may exist between ...
These results provide further
support for the hypothesis that ...
Therefore, X could be a major factor, if not the only one, causing ...
It is possible to hypothesise that these conditions are less likely to occur in ...
Page
Noting implications
It can therefore be assumed that the ...
This provides some explanation as to why …
An implication of this is the possibility that ...
One of the issues that emerges from these findings is ...
These initial results are suggestive of a link between X and Y .
Some
of the issues emerging from this
finding relate specifically to ...
This combination of findings provides some support for the conceptual premise that ...
These
results
findings
suggest that …
provide support for …
support the idea that …
challenge the notion that …
might further
indicate that …
may help us to understand ...
may be taken to indicate that …
are representative of an emerging trend in …
ha
ve
important implications for developing ...
may reflect differences in the size, quality and …
add to a growing body of evidence t
hat suggests …
draw our attention to the importance of considering …
raise
intriguing questions regarding the nature and extent of ...
suggest that the lowering of x may reduce hospital admissions for …
These findings
may
will
might
should
help us
help others to
shape …
design…
predict …
develop …
prioritise …
explain why …
find new ways of …






Page
Suggestions for future work
This is an important issue for future research.
Research questions that could be asked
include ...
There are still many unanswered questions about …
Several questions remain unanswered at present.
Despite these promising results, questions remain.
Further work is required to establish
the viability of
...
Further research should be undertake
n to investigate the ...
There is abundant room for further progress in determining …
A further study with more focus on X is therefore suggested.
Future studies on the current topic are therefore recommended.
In f
urther research, the use of these
data as
X could be a means of
To develop a full picture of X additional studies will be needed that ...
In future investigations, it might be possible to use a different X in which ...
Further studies, which take these variables into account, will need to be
undertaken.
However, more research on this topic needs to be undertaken before the association between X and
Y is more clearly understood.
Further
work is
research is
studies are
investigations are
needed to
required to
identify the …
establish how …







Page
Writing Conclusions
Conclusions are shorter sections of academic texts which usually serve two functions. The first is to
summarise and
In dissertations and research papers, conclusions tend to be more complex and will also include
sections on
the
significance of the findings and
on
recommendations for future work.
In some
research papers, the conclusion is not presented separatel
y from the discussion section; the two
sections may be combined. However, separate conclusions are nearly always expected for
dissertations
and essays.
Restatement of aims
This paper has argued that
This essay has discussed the reasons for
In this investigation, the aim was to assess ...
The aim of the present research was to examine …
predict which …
establish whether …
Page
This study has
examined
the role of …
the impact of …
the nature of …
the
concept of …
the differences between …
the relationship between …
the peer reviewed literature on …
the factors which are thought to contribute to …

Summarising research
findings
This study has identified …
This study has shown that ...
The findings
clearly indicate that …
The research has also shown that ...
The second major finding was that ...
These experiments confirmed that …
made no significant difference to …
This study has found that generally
The investigation of X has shown that
...
The results of this investigation show that
...
X, Y and Z emerged as reliable predictors of
Multiple regression analysis revealed that the
...
The most obvious finding to emerge from this study is that
The relevance of X is clearly supported by
the current findings.
One of the more significant findings to emerge from this study is that
...
Suggesting implications
for the field of knowledge
In general, therefore, it seems that
...
The results of this study indicate that ...
These findings suggest
that in general ...
The findings of this study suggest that
...
Page
Significance of the findings or
contribution of the study
The findings will be of interest to …
This thesis has provided a deeper insight into …
The findings reported here
ed new light on …
The study contributes to our understanding of …
These results add to the rapidly expanding field of …
The contribution of this study has been to confirm …
Before this study, evidence of X was purely anecdotal.
This project is the first
comprehensive investigation of …
This study provides the first comprehensive assessment of …
The insights gained from this study may be of assistance to …
This study establishes a quantitative framework for detecting …
This work contributes to existing kno
wledge
of
X by providing ...
illustrate how …
could be used to help …
are important because …
are particularly relevant for …
provide insights into whether …
enhance our understanding of ...
provide additional evidence
for …
will help other researchers design …
highlight the potential usefulness of …
add to a growing body of literature on ...
provide strong empirical confirmation that …
represent a major breakthrough in the way …
provide important insights into the role
of …
make several contributions to the current literature.
are relevant to both practitioners and policy
makers
Page
This research
The present study
extends our knowledge of ...
has demonstrated, for the first time, that ...
will serve as a base for
future studies and ...
should prove to be particularly valuable to ...
makes several noteworthy contributions to ...
has offered
a framework for the exploration of ...
has provided additional evidence with respect to ...
has several practical applications.
Firstly, it points to ...
has shed a contemporary light on the contentious issue of …
is important in furthering our understanding of the role of …
confirms previous findings and contributes additional evidence that suggests
This is the first
study
to identify …
to show that …
to investigate …
to test the effects of …
to firmly establish that …
to provide evidence for …
to reveal the presence of ..
to investigate the effect of ...
to use objective measures to …
to report an association
between …
to integrate modelling approaches intended to …
that has used …
that has found …
that has revealed …
that has measured …
that has presented evidence for …
that has investigated the effects of …
that has documented the impact of …
that
has
eva
luated the effectiveness of …
that
has shown a clear
cut positive effect of …
Significance of the findings with a qualification
Notwithstanding these limitations, the study suggests that ...
Whilst this study did not confirm X, it did partially substantiate
...
Despite its exploratory nature, this study offers some insight into
...
Notwithstanding the relatively limited sample, this work offers valuable insights into …
Although the current stu
dy is based on a small sample of participants, the findings suggest
...
Page
Commenting on the l
imitations of the current study
A limitation of this study is that …
Being limited to X, this study lacks …
he major limitation of this study is the ...
This study
was limited by the absence of …
One issue with the current study was that …
Thirdly, the study did not evaluate the use of ...
The generalisability of these findings is limited …
The scope of this study was limited in terms of
...
The study is limited by
the lack of information on ...
The most important limitation lies in the fact that ...
A limitation of using this kind of data is that it precludes ...
Study limitations make an overall conclusion about X extremely difficult.
Finally, a number of importan
t limitations need to be considered. First, ...
The findings in this report are subject to at least three limitations. First, ...
However, these findings are limited by the use of a cross sectional design.
The principal limitation of this analysis was the
variance in the design of …
This limitation means that study findings need to be interpreted cautiously.
A potential source of bias for the study is the influence the researcher had upon …
With regard to the research methods, some limitations need to be
acknowledged.
The generalisability of these results is subject to certain limitations. For instance, ...
was limited by ...
has only examined ...
has
not been able to establish …
has only considered the context of …
has
not been able to confirm earlier …
was unable to analyse these variables.
was not specifically designed to
evaluate factors related to …
However, these results may not be applicable to
all types of …
all situations
other species.
patients who …
all clinical settings.
organisations which …
other groups within …
the wider population

Page
Another
source of uncertainty
has been
the role of …
the estimate for …
the assumption that …
the variation of X over time.
associated with changes in …
the possibility of measurement errors in …
X makes these findings less generalisable to
...
It is unfortunate that the study did not include
...
The main weakness of this study was the paucity of
...
Since the study was limited to X, it was not possible to
An additional uncontrolled factor is the possibility that
...
It was not possible to
assess X; therefore, it is unknown if …
Page
Recommendations for
further research work
The question raised by this study is …
More research using controlled trials is needed to …
What is now needed is a cross
national study involving
...
More broadly, research is also needed to determine
...
This research has thrown up
many questions in need of further investigation.
It would be interesting to assess the effects of
...
It is recommended that further research be undertaken in the following areas:
would be interesting to compare experiences of
individuals within the sa
me …
It is suggested that the association of these factors is investigated in future studies.
A further study could assess the long
term effects of
might
explore …
could usefully explore how …
Further
work is needed to fully understand the implications of …
research is required to establish the therapeutic
efficiency of …
modelling work will have to be conducted in order to determine …
experim
ents, using a broader range of X
s, could shed more light on …
research in other Xs is, therefore, an essential next step in confirming …
A
future
study investigatin
g X would be very interesting.
In terms of directions for
future
research, further work could ...
In the
future
, it will be important to explore the potential use of …
Another possible area of
future
research would be to investigate why ...
A number of possible
future
Page
Future studies should
include …
focus on …
target specific …
clarify whether …
attempt to identify …
assess the impact of ...
explore the effects of …
seek to minimise bias by …
investigate the degree to which …
concentrate on the investigation of ...
address the questions raised by this research.
More research
is required
is needed
to account for ...
in order to determine which …
to determine the efficacy and safety of ...
to examine the long
term efficacy and safety of …
Further
research is
studies are
needed
required
why …
how …
the nature of …
the causes of …
the impact of …
the reasons for …
the influence of …
the extent to which …
the role that X
plays in …
how X is associated with …
the risks associated with …
the underlying causes of …
the possible link between
...
the relationship between …
the discrepancies between …
the mechanisms underlying …
the effectiveness and safety of …
the complex link
ages between …
the complex interaction between …
the complex association between …
Page
The study should be repeated using ...
This would be a fruitful area for further work.
Several questions still remain to be answered.
A natural progression of this work is to analyse ...
Page
General Functions of Academic W
riting
Page
Being Critical
As an academic writer, you are expected to be critical of the sources that you use. This essentially
means questioning what you read and not necessarily agreeing with it just because the information
has been published. Being critical can also mean looking
for reasons why we should not just accept
something as being correct or true. This can require you to identify problems with a writer’s
improved
...
being against is not enough. We also need to develop h
abits of constructive thinking

Introductory phrases
Much of the criticism that X has attracted relates to …
Critics question the ability of the X theory to provide ...
Highlighting inadequacies of previous studies
Previous studies of X have not dealt with ...
Researchers have not treated X in much detail.
Such expositions are
unsatisfactory because they ...
Most studies in the field of X have only
focused
on ...
Half of the studies evaluated failed to specify whether ...
The research to date has tended to focus on X rather than Y.
Most empirical studies of X have relied upon sm
all sample sizes.
However, these studies used non
Most of the
research on the association between X and Y is flawed methodologically.
The experimental data are rather controversial, and there is no general agreement about ...
Although extensive research has been carried out on X, no single study exists which adequate
ly ...

De Bono, E. (2016)
Parallel Thinking
. London:
Ebury Publishing
(p.58).
Page
Most studies of X
have only
focused
on ...
are unsatisfactory because they ...
fail to estimate economic rates of
have only investigated the impact of
...
have not included variables relating to …
are limited by weak designs and
a failure to address …
have only been carried out in a small number of areas.
Highlighting inadequacies
of a
n empirical study
The study suffers from …
The paper fails to specify …
No attempt has been made to …
The study makes no attempt to …
report provides little evidence that …
A major problem with this experiment was that …
specify …
quantify …
separate …
compare …
account for …
suggest why …
analyse how …
ascertain whether …
distinguish between …
explain the meaning of …
provide information on …
address the question of …
assess the effectiveness of …



Page

(However,)
the study
the paper
suffers from
selection bias.
limited sample size.
poor external validity.
multiple design flaws.
an overemphasis on …
serious statistical flaws.
insufficient sample size.
inconsistent definitions.
poorly developed theory.
historical and cultura
l bias.
methodological limitations.
serious sampling problems.
a lack of clarity in defining …
inadequate research design.
considerable design limitations.
the use of poorly matched controls.
a paucity of standardised measures.
notable methodological weakn
esses.
fundamental flaws in research design.
lack of a strong theoretical framework
certain ambiguities at the conceptual level.
an over
reliance on self
report methodology.
Smith
The study
The report
overlooks
fails to acknowledge
makes no attempt to consider
the impact of …
the reasons for …
the
evidence for …
the contexts in which …
several key aspects of …
the variable nature of …
other explanations for …
the complex nature of …
the potential impact of …
the social dimension of …
the dynamic aspects of
...
the underlying causes of …
the ethical
implications of
...
the important role played by …
the demographic factors that
...
the broader implications of how
...
the unique complexities faced by
...
the contextual factors that influence …
Page



Introducing quest
ions, problems and limitations: theory
or argument
The main weakness with this theory is that …
The key
problem with this explanation is that ...
However, this theory does not fully explain why …
One criticism of much of the literature on X is that ...
Critics question the ability of the X theory to provide ...
However, there is an inconsistency with this a
rgument.
There are limits to how far the concept of X can be taken.
A serious weakness with this argument, however, is that ...
However, such explanations tend to overlook the fact that ...
The X hypothesis has been questioned on the basis of some conflict
experimental findings
No attempt has been made to
However
the analysis is largely superficial, based solely on …
the sample size in this study was relatively small …
this research has a number of
methodological weaknesses.
the degree of X experienced by patients was not measured.
a major weakness with this study is that there
was
no control for X.
a major problem with this e
xperiment was that no control for
X was used.
one of the problems with the
instrument the researchers used to measure X was ...
the main methodological weakness is that X was only monitored for 12 months.
Page
The theory is unable to
predict …
explain why …
fully account for …
adequately explain the …
explain what happens when …
make any useful prediction about …
explain the differences observed when …
provide a comprehensive
explanation for …
The current model of X suffers from
poor scalability
unnecessary complexity
lack of empirical support
several methodological problems
certain weaknesses that hinder its ability to …
Introducing question
s, p
drawbacks.
limitations.
weaknesses.
shortcomings.
disadvantages.
Page
However
Selection bias is another (potential)
risk.
concern.
problem.
limitation.
weakness.
threat to internal validity.
limitation of systematic
reviews.
Criticism of an
author
or an author’s work
Smith seems to ignore …
Smith fails to grasp that …
Smith’s
interpretation overlooks …
Smith overlooks a number of important sources.
Smith fails to acknowledge the social aspects of …
However,
Smith’s accounts
are clearly ideological.
Although Smith has argued that … she neglects to note that …
(However,)
the paper does not address …
Smith fails to fully define what ...
major criticism of Smith’s
work is that ...
Jones fails to acknowledge the significance of ...
the author overlooks the fact that X contributes to Y.
what Smith fails to do is to draw a distinction between ...
Smith’s paper
would appear to be over ambitious in its claims.
the main w
eakness of the study is the failure to address how ...
another weakness is that we are given no explanation of how ...
the research does not take into account pre
existing ... such as ...
the study fails to consider the differing categories of damage that
Page
Smith
The book
The paper
overlooks
fails to
acknowledge
makes no attempt to consider
the impact of …
the reasons for …
the evidence for …
the contexts in which …
several key aspects of …
the variable nature of …
other explanations for …
the complex nature of …
the potential impact of …
the social
dimension of …
the dynamic aspects of
...
the underlying causes of …
demographic factors that
...
the ethical implications of
...
the important role played by …
the broader implications of how
...
the unique complexities faced by
...
the contextual factors
that influence …

Smith
The book
The paper
fails to
does not
makes no attempt to
specify …
quantify …
compare …
separate
account for …
suggest why …
analyse how …
ascertain whether …
distinguish between …
explain the meaning of …
provide information on …
address the question of …
assess the effectiveness of …
Page
Offering constructive suggestions
The study would have been more interesting if it had included …
These studies would have been more useful if they had focused on …
The study would have been more relevant if the researchers had asked
The questionnaire would have been more useful if it had asked participants about …
The research would have been more relevant if a wider range of X had been explored.
The study
The findings
Smith’s paper
Her conclusions
would have been
might have been
more
much more
far more
useful
original
relevant
convincing
interesting
persuasive
if he/she had
if the author had
used ...
adopted…
included …
provided …
considered …



A more comprehensive study would include all the groups of ...
A
Evaluating work positively
This article provides a valuable insight into …
Overall, X’s study is a powerful explanation of …
Smith’s research is valuable for
our understanding of …
The first major fieldwork project that was started in X was …
In his seminal text,
, Sm
ith devoted some attention to …
One of the most influentia
l accounts of X comes from Smith (1986)
Smith’s synthesis remains one of the most comprehensive studies of …
Smith makes an interesting contribution with regard to the impact of …
In a well
designed and robust study, Smith (1998) examined data from …
A
good summary of the classification of X has been provided in the work of …
The pioneering work of Smith remains crucial to our wider understanding of …
The most comprehensive study
of
X during this period has been undertaken by …
Smith, in his comprehensiv
e two
volume biography of X, devoted a substantial section to …
Smith’s study is of great significance as it marks the first attempt to assess the broader impact of …
A more substantial approach to the longer
term significance of X can be found in Smith’s
recent
article in …
Page
Smith (1990)
offers
provides
presents
a useful
a detailed
an original
an insightful
an extensive
an interesting
a comprehensive
a contemporary
analysis of …
In his
In her
In this
useful
timely
seminal
detailed
thorough
excellent
influential
important
innovative
pioneering
impressive
wide
ranging
comprehensive
ground
breaking
study (of X),
survey (of X),
analysis (of X),
examination (of X),
investigation (into X),
Smith (2012)
Jones (2014)
found ...
concluded t
hat ...
was able to show ...
argues that …
makes the case for …
provides a valuable ...

Smith’s
seminal
landmark
thoughtful
innovative
pioneering
influential
informative
fascinating
wide
ranging
comprehensive
ground
breaking
study
analysis
provides a valuable insight into …
makes a valuable contribution with regard to …
remains crucial to our wider understanding of …
is of great significance as it marks the first attempt to …




Page
Introducing the critical
responses of
individual writers
Smith (2014) disputes this account of …
Jones (2003) has also questio
ned why ...
However, Jones (2015
points out that ...
The author
challenge
the widely held view that ...
Smith (1999) takes issue with the contention that …
The idea
that … was first challenged by Smith (1992).
Smith is critical of
the tendency to compartmentalis
e X.
However, Smith (1967) questioned this hypothesis and …
Smith (1980) broke with tradition by raising the question of …
Jones (2003) has challenged some of
Smith’s conclusions, arguing that ...
Another major criticism of Smith’s study, made by Jones (2003), is that …
Jones (2003) is critical of the conclusions that Smith draws from his findings
An alternative interpretation of
the origins of X can be found in Smith (1976).
Jones (2003) is probably the best known critic of the X theory. He argues that ...
In her discussion of X, Smith further criticises the ways in which some authors …
Smith’s decision to reject the classical ex
planation of X merits some discussion …
In a recent article in
Academic Journal
, Smith (2014) questions the extent to which …
The latter point has been devastatingly critiqued by Jones (2003), who argues that ...
A recently published article by Smith
et al
. (2011) casts doubt on Jones’ assumption that …
Other authors (see Harbison, 2003; Kaplan, 2004) question the usefulness of such an approach.
Smith criticised Jones for his overly restrictive and selective definit
ion of X which was limited to …
Smith’s an
alysis has been criticised by a number of writers. Jones (1993
), for example, points out
...
Smith
criticis
es …
questions …
challenges …
is critical of …
casts doubt on …
points out that …
takes issue with…
raises a number of questions about …
ntroducing a section of text
which has a critical purpose
The section below
The section that follows
critically
assesses
examines
the idea that …
the view that …
the claim that …
the quality of …
the concept of …
the role played by …
the argument
that …
Smith’s analysis of …
the effectiveness of …
the current approaches to …
Page
eing Cautious
One of the most noticeable stylistic aspects of academic communication is the tendency for writers
to avoid expressing absolute certainty, where there may be a small degree of uncertainty, and to
avoid making over
generalisations, where a small number of e
xceptions might exist. This means
that there are many instances where the epistemological strength (strength of knowledge) of a
statement or claim is mitigated (weakened) in some way.
Writers may also wish to create a degree
of distance between themselves
and a statement or claim made by another writer.
In the field of
linguistics, devices for lessening the strength of a statement
or for creating distance
are known as
hedging devices. Analysis of research reports have shown that discussion sections tend to
be
particularly rich in hedging devices, particularly where writers are offering
explanations for findings
Devices that distance the
writer
from a proposition
It is thought that ...
It is believed that
It has been reported that ...
It is a widely held view that
...
It has commonly been assumed that
...
According to Smith (2002),
According to recent reports,
According to many in the field
...
Many scholars hold the view that
...
Smith (2001) is of the opinion that ...
Recent research has suggested that
If Smith’s (2001) findings are accurate, ...
There is some evidence to suggest that ...
There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that
Being cau
tious when giving
explanations or
hypothesizing
These frequent storms
may be
could be
might be
are almost certainly
due to climate change.
It may be
It is likely
It could be
It is possible
It is probable
It is almost certain
that
these frequent storms
are a result of climate change.
Page
A likely explanation
A possible explanation
A probable explanation
is that
these frequent storms
are a result of climate change.
Being cautious when explaining results
This inconsistency may be due to
...
This discrepancy could be attributed to
A possible explanation for this might be that
It seems possible that these results are due to
...
This rather contradictory result may be due to
...
The observed increase
in X could be attributed to
The possible interference of X cannot be ruled out
...
There are several possible explanations for this result.
There are two likely causes for the differences between
...
A possible explanation for these results may be the
lack of adequate
Since this difference has not been found elsewhere it is probably not due to
...
It is possible that these results
are due to …
are limited to …
are only valid for …
may not apply to …
do not represent the …
do not accurately refle
ct …
have been confounded by
may have been skewed by …
might be biased because of …
could be a statistical anomaly
might have been affected by …
were influenced by the lack of …
merely reflect a selection effect.
may underestimate the role of …
are no
t a true representation of …
underestimate the true prevalence of …
might not be applicable to other groups …
are an artefact of our experimental design
are biased, given the self
reported nature of …
will not be reproducible on a wide scale across …
may
not be generalisable to a broader range of
...




Page
Being cautious when discussing implications or recommendations
The findings of this study
suggest
that
...
Taken together, these results
suggest
that ...
The evidence from this study
suggests
that
...
These results would seem to
suggest
that the ...
These initial results are
suggestive
most
almost all
some types of
many types of
the m
ajority of
certain types of
living organisms.
Ozone levels
often
generally
frequently
sometimes
occasionally
nearly always
exceed WHO levels in many cities.


Page
In general, the study found a
tendency
for …
There is a
tendency
for ozone to attack cells.
Ozone
tends
to attack cells and break down tissues.
Smith (2003) found a
tendency
for X to be associated with …
Smith
et al
. (1985) found a
tendency
for survey respondents to over
report ...
tendency
for extreme scores to move toward the mean score
over time
is known as ..
Being cautious when writing
about the future
Severe weather
may
could
might
is likely to
will probably
will almost certainly
become more common in the future.
It is likely
It is possible
It is almost certain
There is a possibility
There is a small chance
There is a strong
possibility
that
the situation will improve in the long term
Advising cautious interpretation of findings (Refer to
Discussing Findings
These findings cannot be extrapolated to all patients.
Page
Classifying and Listing
systematically. The order of a list may indicate rank
ed
importance
.
General classifications
X can be classified into
Xi and Xii.
X can be categorised into Xi, Xii and Xiii.
Several taxonomies for X have been developed …
Different methods have been proposed to classify …
X may be divided into several groups: a) …, b) …, c)…
Generally, X provides t
wo types of
information: Xi
and Xii.
It has become commonplace to distinguish ‘Xi’ from ‘Xii’ forms of X.
X is generally classified into two types: Xi, also known as ..., and Xii or ...
There are two basic approaches currently being adopted in research int
o X. One is …
The theory distinguishes two different types of X, i.e. s
ocial X and semantic X (Smith
, 2013).
The works of Smith fall under three
headings: (1) dialogues and ..., (2) collections of facts,
and (3) …
X may be divided into
three main
classes.
categories.
sub
groups.
X may be classified
in terms of
according to
depending on
on the basis of

into Xi and Xii.
Specific classifications
Smith
(2015)
draws a distinction
between …
Smith (2006) categorised X
as being
a) …
, b
) …, or c) …
Smith’s (1980) typology of X is the one most widely
used.
Jones (1987) distinguishes between systems that are a) …, b) …, or c) …
Page
In the traditional system, X is graded
in terms of ...
on the basis of ...
according to whether ...
Commenting on a system of classification
: positive
or neutral
This system of classification
includes ...
allows for ...
is widely
used in …
helps distinguish ...
is useful because ...
is very simple and …
provides a basis for ...
has clinical relevance
was agreed upon after ...
can vary depending on ...
is still respected and used
is particularly well suited for …
has withstood the
test of time.
is a convenient way to describe …
has been broadened to include ...
was developed for the purpose of ...
is more scientific since it is based on …
Smith’s taxonomy is
used to classify …
a hierarchical model for classifying ...
a well
known description of levels of …
classification of learning objectives ....
a widely acknowledged classification system useful for ....
a multi
tiered model of classifying X according to different levels of …
Smith
and Jones
(1966)
divided
grouped
classified
into two
broad
types: Xis and Xii
Smith
(1996) describes
four basic kinds of validity:
logical, content, criterion
and construct.
Page
Commenting on a system of classification: negative
This system of classification
is
misleading
is now out of date
can be problematic
is in need of revision
poses a problem for ...
is not universally used.
is somewhat arbitrary
is simplistic and arbitrary
has relevance only within …
has now been largely abandoned
is obsolete and ten
ds to be avoided
has limited utility with respect to ...
Introducing lists
This topic can best be treated under three headings: X, Y
and Z.
The key aspects of management can be listed as follows: X, Y
and Z.
There are two types of effect which
result when a patient undergoes X. These are ...
Three Voices for Mass
is divided into six sections. These are: the
Kyrie, Gloria
, ....
There are three reasons why the English language has become so dominant. These are:
Appetitive stimuli have three se
parable basic functions. Firstly, they ... Secondly, they ...
This section has been included for several reasons: it is ...; it illustrates ...; and it describes...
The disadvantages of the new approach can be discussed under thr
ee headings, which are:
...
During his tour of Britain, he visited the following industrial centres: Manchester, Leeds, and
Mass for Four Voices
consists
of five movements, which are: the
Kyrie, Gloria, Credo,
Santus
, and
Agnus Dei
Referring to other people’s lists
Smith
and Jones (1991) list X, Y and Z as the major causes of infant mortality.
Smith (2003) lists the main f
eatures of X as follows: it is A; it is B; and it has C
Smith (2003) argues that there are two broad categories of Y, which are: a)
and b)
Smith
(2003) suggests three conditions for
. Firstly, X should be
...
Secondly, it needs to be
For Aristotle, motion is of four kinds: (1) motion which
...
; (2) motion which
...
; (3) motion which
;
and (4) motion which
...
Page
Comparing and
Contrasting
understanding and learn more about both. This usually involves a process of analysis, in which we
compare the specific parts as well as
the
whole. Comparison
may also be a preliminary stage of
evaluation. For example, by comparing specific aspects of A and B, we can decide which is more
useful or valuable. Many paragraphs whose function is to compare or contrast will begin with an
introductory sentence express
ed in general terms.
Introduc
ing d
ifferences
X is different from Y in a number of respects.
X differs from Y in a number of important ways.
minor
major
distinct
notable
only slight
significant
considerable
differences between X and Y.
One of the most
crucial
salient
marked
striking
notable
obvious
important
significant
prominent
noticeable
interesting
fundamental
widely
reported
differences


Page
Introduc
ing s
imilarities
Both X and Y share a number of key features.
There are a number of similarities between X and Y.
The effects of X on human health are similar to those of Y.
Both X and Y generally take place in a ‘safe environment’.
These results are similar to those reported by (Smith
et al
. 1999)
This definition is similar to that found in (Smith, 2001) who writes:
The return rate is similar to that of comparable studies (e.g. Smith
et al
. 1999)
The approach used in this investi
gation is similar to that used by other researchers
tudies have compared Xs in humans and animals and found that they are essentially identical.
The mode of processing used by
the right brain
is similar to that
is comparable to that
is comparable in co
mplexity to that
used by the left brain.
Comparison within one sentence using subordinating adverbs
Oral societies tend to be more
concerned with the present
while
whereas
literate societies have a very definite awareness
of the past.
While
Whereas
oral societies tend to be more concerned with the present,
literate societies have a
very definite awareness
of the past.
Comparison within one sentence using prepositional phrases
In contrast to
Compared with
people in oral cultures,
people in literate cultures organise their lives around
clocks and calendars
Comparison within one sentence using contrastive verbs
Smith’s
interpretation
differs from that
contrasts with that
is different from that
of Jones (2004) who argue
that ...
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Comparison within one sentence using comparative forms
In the trial, women made fewer errors than men.
Women tend to have greater/less verbal fluency than men.
Adolescents are more/less likely to be put to sleep by alcohol than adults.
Further,
men are more/less accurate in tests of target
directed motor skills.
Women
are faster/slower than men at certain precision manual tasks, such as
The part of the brain connecting
the two hemispheres may be more/less extensive in women.
Women are more/less likely than men to suffer aphasia when the fron
t part of the brain is damaged.
Women
may be more/less susceptible to X
are more/less accurate in tests of X
are more/less
likely to perform well
mak
e more/fewer errors
in tests of X
tend to have greater/less verbal fluency
tend to perform better/worse in tests of X
than men
Indicating difference across two sentences
It is very difficult to get away
from calendar
time in literate
societies
By contrast,
In contrast,
On the other hand,
many people in oral communities have little
idea of the calendar year of their birth.

According to some studies, X is represented as
… (Smith, 2012; Davis, 2014)
Others pr
opose … (Jones, 2014; Brown, 2015)
Smith (2013) found that X accounted for 30%
of Y.
Other researchers, however, who have looked at
X, have found ...
Jones (2010), for example, ...
Jones
(2002) reports that ...
However,
Smith’s (2010)
study of Y found no ...
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Indicating similarity across two sentences
Young children learning their
first language need simplified
input.
Similarly,
Likewise,
In the same way,
low level adult L2 learners need graded
input supplied in most cases by a
teacher.
Smith
(2009)
argues that ...
Jones
(2003) sees X as ...
Similarly,
Likewise,
In the same vein,
Brown
(2013) asserts that ...
White
(2012) holds the view that ...
Green
(1994) in his book
notes ...
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Defining
Terms
In academic work
students are often expected to give definitions of key words and phrases in order
to demonstrate to their tutors that they understand these terms
well
. Academic writers generally,
however, define terms so that their readers understa
nd exactly what is meant when certain key
Introductory phrases
The term ‘X’ was first used by …
The term ‘X’ can be traced back to …
Previous
studies mostly defined X as …
The term ‘X’ was introduced by Smith in her …
Historically, the term
has been used to describe …
It is necessary here to clarify exactly what is meant by
This shows a need to be explicit about exactly what is meant by the word
Simple three
part definitions
A university is
an institution
where knowledge is produced and passed on to others
Social Economics
may be defined as
the branch of
economics
[which is] concerned with the measurement
causes
and
consequences of social problems.
Research may be
defined as
a systematic
process
which consists of three elements or components: (1) a
question, problem, or hypothesis, (2) data, and (3)
analysis and interpretation of data.
Education is
a form of
learning
in which the
knowledge
skills
, or
values
of a group of
people are transferred from one generation to the next.
A scientific theory
can be defined as
an
explanation
of some aspect
of the natural
world
[which has been]
confirmed by observation or
experiment.
Braille is
a system
of touch reading and writing for blind people in which
Science is
the systematic
study of
the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural
world through observation and experiment.
Page
General meanings or application of meanings
X can broadly be defined as …
X can be loosely described as …
X can be defined as
It encompasses
...
In the literature, the term tends to be used to refer to ...
In broad terms, X can be defined as any stimulus that is ...
Whereas X refers to the operations of ..., Y refers to the ...
The broad use of the term
‘X’ is sometimes equated with ...
The term ‘disease’ refers to a biological event characterised by ...
Defined as X, obesity is now considered a worldwide epidemic and is associated with ...
The term ‘X’
refers to ...
encompasses A), B), and C).
has come
to be used to refer to ...
is generally understood to mean ...
carries certain connotations in some types of …
has been used to refer to situations in which ...
is a relatively new name for a Y, commonly referred to as ...
X is a
broad
generic
common
umbrella
non
specific
relatively new
term
that refers to …
used to describe …
which encompasses …
covering a wide range of …
Indicating varying definitions
The definition of X has evolved.
There are multiple definitions of X.
Several
definitions of X have been proposed.
In the field of X, various definitions of X are found.
The term ‘X’ embodies a multitude of concepts which ...
This term has
two overlapping, even slightly confusing meanings.
Widely varying definitions of X have emerge
d (Smith and Jones, 1999).
Despite its common usage, X is used in different disciplines to mean different things.
Since the definition of X varies among researchers, it is important to clarify how the term is used in …
The meaning of this term
has evolve
d.
has varied over time.
has been extended to refer to …
has been broadened in recent years.
has not been consistent throughout …
has changed somewhat from its original definition, particularly in …
Page
Indicating difficulties in defining a term
X is a
contested term.
X is a rather nebulous term …
X is challenging to define because …
A precise definition of X has proved elusive.
A generally accepted definition of X is lacking.
Unfortunately, X remains a poorly defined term.
There is no agreed definition
on what constitutes …
There is little consensus about what X actually means.
There is a degree of uncertainty around the terminology in ...
These terms are often used interchangeably and without precision.
Numerous terms are used to describe X, the most co
mmon of which are ….
The definition of X varies in the literature and there is terminological confusion.
Smith (2001) identified four abilities that might be subsumed under the term ‘X’: a) ...
‘X’ is a term frequently used in the literature, but to date
there is no consensus about ...
X is a commonly
used notion in psychology and yet it is a concept difficult to define precisely
Although differences of opinion still exist, there appears to be some agreement that X refers to ...
The meaning of this term
has been disputed.
has been debated ever since …
has
proved to be
notoriously hard to define.
has been an object of major disagreement in …
has been a matter of ongoing discussion among …
Referring to people’s definitions: author prominent
For Smith (2001),
X means ...
Smith (2001) uses the term ‘X’ to refer to ...
Smith (1954) was apparently the first to use the term ...
In 1987, psychologist John Smith popularized the term ‘X’ to describe ...
According to a definition provided by Smith (2001:23), X is ‘the
maximally ...
This definition is close to those of Smith (2012) and Jones (2013) who define X as …
Smith, has shown that, as late as 1920, Jones was using the term ‘X’ to refer to particular ...
One of the first people to define nursing was Florence Nighti
ngale (1860), who wrote: ‘... ...’
Chomsky writes that a grammar is a ‘device of some sort for producing the ....’ (1957, p.11).
Aristotle defines the imagination as ‘the movement which results upon an actual sensation.’
Smith
et al.
(2002) have provided a
new definition of health: ‘health is a state of being with …
Referring to people’s definitions: author non
prominent
X is defined by Smith (2003: 119) as ‘... ...’
The term ‘X’ was introduced by Smith in her …
The term ‘X’ is used by Smith (2001) to
refer to ...
X is, for Smith (2012), the situation which occurs when …
A further definition is given by Smith (1982) who describes ...
A similar definition has been proposed by Smith
et al
. (1998), who have argued that …
The term ‘X’ is used by Aristotle i
n four overlapping senses. First, it is the underlying ...
X is the degree to which an assessment process or device measures … (Smith
et al.
, 1986).
Page
ommenting on a definition
This definition
includes ...
allows for ...
highlights the ...
helps
distinguish ...
takes into account …
poses a problem for ...
will continue to evolve.
can vary depending on ...
was agreed upon after ...
is intended primarily for …
has largely fallen out of use.
has been broadened to include ...
captures a number of
important features of …
The following definition is
intended to ...
modelled on …
too simplistic.
useful because ...
problematic as ...
rather imprecise.
inadequate since ...
in need of revision since ...
important for what it excludes.
the most
precise produced so far.
What is
useful
striking
notable
troubling
appealing
significant
important
distinctive
interesting
remarkable
about this definition is
that it offers …
that it stresses …
the emphasis on …
that it recognises …
that it
is based on …
that it clearly links …
that it acknowledges …
that it encompasses all …
that it takes for granted …
what it does not include …



Page
Specifying terms that are used in an essay or thesis
The term ‘X’ is used here to refer to …
In the present
study, X is defined as ...
The term ‘X’ will be used solely when referring to ...
In this essay, the term ‘X’ will be used in its broadest sense to refer to all ...
In this paper, the term that will be used to describe this phenomenon is ‘X’.
In this
dissertation, the terms ‘X’ and ‘Y’ are used interchangeably to mean ...
Throughout this thesis, the term ‘X’ is used to refer to informal systems as well as ...
While a variety of definitions of the term ‘X’ have been suggested, this paper will use the de
finition
first suggested by Smith (1968) who saw it as ...












Page
escribing Trends and Projections
is developing or changing over time.
A
projection is a prediction of future change. Trends and projections are usually illustrated using line
graphs in which the horizontal axis represents time. Some of the language commonly used for
writing about trends and projections is given below.
Describing trends
The graph shows that there has been a
Figure 2
reveals that there has been a
slight
steep
sharp
steady
gradual
marked
fall
rise
drop
decline
increase
decrease
in the number of
Describing high and low points in figures
Oil
production peaked in 1985.
The peak age for committing a crime is 18.
The number of Xs reached a peak during …
Gas production reached a (new) low in 1990
Projecting trends
The rate of Z
The amount of Y
The number of Xs
is likely to
will probably
is expected to
is projected to
fall
increase
level off
drop sharply
remain steady
decline steadily
after 2020.
Highlighting data in a table or chart
What is striking
What stands out
What can be clearly seen
n this
table
chart
figure
is the growth of …
is the high rate of …
is the dominance of …
is the rapid decrease in …
is the steady decline of …
is the general pattern of …
is the difference between …
Page
Describing Quantities
The language for writing about quantities can be a complex area for non
native speakers because
there are many combinations of short grammar words, such as prepositions and pronouns, and
these can easily be confused. Many of the phrases given below also co
ntain approximators such as:
nearly, approximately, over half, less than, just over.
Describing fractions
and percentages
Nearly half of
the respondents (48%) agreed that ...
Approximately half of those
surveyed did not comment on ...
Of the 270 participants,
nearly one
third
did not agree about …
Less than a third of
those who responded (32%) indicated that ...
The number of first marriages in the United Kingdom fell
by nearly two
fifths.
half
a third
a quarter
those surveyed
of the respondents
of those who responded
agreed that …
indicated that …
did not respond to this question.
50%
40%
Describing averages
The average of
12 observations in the X, Y and Z is 19.2 mgs/m ...
Roman slaves probably had a
lower than average
life expectancy
This figure can be seen as the
average
life expectancy
at various ages.
The proposed model suggests a steep decline
in
mean
life expectancy
...
mean age of Xs with
coronary atherosclerosis
was 48.3 ± 6.3 years.
ean estimated age at death
was 38.1 ± 12.0 years (ranging from 10 to 60+ years)
mean income
of the bottom 20 percent of U.S. families declined from $10,716 in 1970 to ...
mean score f
or the two trials was subjected to mu
ltivariate analysis of variance to determine ...
Page

Roman slaves probably had a
much
lower
than average
life expectancy.
The Roman nobility probably had a
much higher
than average
life expectancy.
Describing ranges
The respondents had practised
for an average of 15 years (range 6 to 35 years).
The participants were aged 19 to 25 and were from both rural and urban backgrounds.
They calculated ranges of journal use from 10.7%
36.4% for the humanities, 25%
57% for
...
The evidence shows that life
expectancy from birth lies in the range of twenty to thirty years.
The mean income of the bottom 20 percent of U.S. families declined from $10,716 to $9,833.
Rates of decline ranged from 2.71
0.08 cm per day (Table 11) with a mean of 0.97 cm per day.
Most
estimates of X range from 200.000 to 700.000 and, in some cases, up to a million or more.
At between 575 and 590 metres depth, the sea floor is extremely flat, with an average slope of ...
Describing ratios and proportions
Singapore has
the highest
proportion
of millionaire households.
The annual birth rate dropped from 44.4 to 38.6 per 1000 per annum.
East Anglia had
the lowest proportion
of lone parents at only 14 per cent.
The proportion of
live births outside marriage reached
one in ten
in 1945.
The proportion of the population
attending emergency departments was 65% higher in X than ...
Page
Explaining Causality
A great deal of academic work involves understanding and suggesting solutions to problems. At
postgraduate level,
particularly in applied fields, students search out problems to study. In fact, one
could say that problems are the raw material for a significant proportion of academic activity.
However, solutions cannot be suggested unless the problem is fully analysed,
and this involves a
thorough understanding of the causes. Some of the language that you may find useful for explaining
causes and effects is listed below
Verbs
indicating
causality
Lack of
iron in the diet
may cause
can lead to
can result in
can
give rise to
tiredness and fatigue.
Scurvy is a disease
caused by
resulting from
stemming from
lack of vitamin C.
Much of the instability in X
is driven by
stems from
is caused by
can be attributed to
the economic effects of the war.
Nouns
indicating
causality
One reason why Xs
have declined is that
...
A consequence of vitamin A deficiency is blindness.
X can have profound health consequences for older people.
The most likely causes of X are poor diet and lack of exercise.
causes
of X have been the subject of intense debate within
...
Prepositional phrases
indicating
causality
Around 200,000 people per year become deaf
owing to
because of
as a result of
as a consequence of
a lack of iodine.
Page
entence connectors
indicating
causality
If undernourished children do survive to
become adults, they have decreased
learning ability.
Therefore,
Consequently,
Because of this,
As a result (of this),
when they grow up, it will
probably be difficult for them to
find work
Adverbial elements
indicating causality
Malnutrition leads to illness and a reduced ability to
work in adulthood,
The warm air rises above the surface of the sea,
thus
thereby
perpetuating the poverty cycle.
creating an area of low pressure
Nouns indicating contributing agency
Extreme loneliness is a risk
factor
for X.
X and Y are important driving
factors
of Z.
X is almost as strong a risk
factor
for disability as Y.
X is generally seen as a
factor
strongly related to Y.
This work has revealed several
factors
that are responsible for …
The study found that loneliness has twice the
impact
on early death as obesity does.
X is a
key
factor
in …
s a major
influence
on …
X has a positive
effect
on …
X has a significant
impa
on …
X is an important
determinant
of …
X is a
/an
risk
common
dominant
predictive
important
significant
underlying
contributing
confounding
complicating
factor
in …
for …



Page
Verbs indicating contributing agency
has contributed to
the decline in …
It is now understood that X
plays
an important
role
in …
A number of factors
play a role
in determining the effects of …
The mixing of X and Y
exerts
a powerful
effect
upon Z through...
Recent research has revealed that X
has
a detrimenta
effect
on …
A number of factors are known
to affect
the volume and type of …
All these factors can
impact on
the efficiency and effectiveness of …
X is only one of many factors that help to
determine
the quality of …
Several factors are known to
affect X.
shape X.
predict X
increase X
influence X

Contributory agency
Preventative agency
aid
fuel
assist
boost
foster
enable
amplify
facilitate
promote
intensify
speed up
stimulate
aggravate
accelerate
encourage
exacerbate
block
deter
delay
shrink
impair
inhibit
hinder
reduce
control
weaken
impede
prevent
obstruct
decrease
moderate
counteract






Page
Verbs
describing activity to understand causes
Few studies
Many studies
Previous studies
have
analysed
explored
described
examined
addressed
investigated
the causes of X
Possible
cause and effect
relationships expressed
tentati
vely
X might be
attributed to …
X may be associated with …
One reason for this difference may be …
There is some evidence that X may affect Y.
In the literature, X has been associated with Y.
It is not yet clear whether X is made worse by Y.
The findings indicate that reg
ular exercise could improve …
A high consumption of X could be associated with infertility.
X in many cases may be associated with certain bacterial infections.
X appears to be linked to …
caused Y.
given rise to Y.
brought about Y.
been an important factor in Y.
contributed to the increase in Y.
been caused by an increase in Y.
played a vital role in bringing about Y.
may have been
due to
caused by
attributed to
brought about by Y


Page
Giving Examples as S
upport
Writers may give specific examples as evidence to support their
general claims or arguments.
Examples can also be used to help the reader or listener understand unfamiliar or difficult concepts,
and they tend to be easier to remember. For this reason, they are often used in teaching. Finally,
students may be required t
o give examples in their work to demonstrate that they have understood
a complex problem or concept. It is important to note that when statements are supported with
examples, the explicit language signalling this may not always be used.
Ex
amples as the main information in a sentence
A classic
A useful
A notable
An important
A prominent
A well
known
example of X is ....
For example, the word
doctor
used to mean a
learned man
For example, Smith and Jones (2004) conducted a series of semi
structured interviews in
...
Young people begin smoking for a variety of reasons. They may, for example, be influenced by
Another example of what is meant by X is ...
This is exemplifie
d in the work undertaken by
...
This distinction is further exemplified in studies using ...
An example of this is the study carried out by Smith (2004) in which ...
The effectiveness of the X technique has been
exemplified in a report by Smith
et al
(2
010)
This is evident in the case of ...
This is certainly true in the case of
...
The evidence of X can be clearly seen in the case of ...
In a similar case in America, Smith (1992) identified
This can be seen in the case of the two London physics l
aboratories which
...
X is a good illustration of ...
X illustrates this point clearly.
This can be illustrated briefly by
By way of illustration, Smith (20
03) shows how the data for
These experiments illustrate that
X and Y
have
distinct functions in
Examples as additional information in a sentence
Young people begin smoking for a variety of reasons,
such as
pressure from peers or
The prices of resources,
such as
copper, iron ore, and aluminium, have declined over …
Many d
iseases can result at least in part from stress
, including
: arthritis, asthma, and migraine.
Gassendi kept in close contact with many other scholars,
such as
Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, and …
Pavlov found that if some other stimulus,
for example
the ringin
g of a bell, preceded the food,
the …
Page
Reporting cases as support
This case has shown that
...
This has been seen in the case of
The case reported here illustrates the
...
Overall, these cases support the view that ...
This case study confirms the importance of
...
The evidence presented thus far supports the idea that ...
the need for …
the dangers of …
the possibility of …
the necessity of …
the benefit of using …
how important it is to …
what can happen when …
the potential harm
from …
the central role played by …
(some of ) the problems caused by …
(some of ) the differences between …
(some of) the difficulties that arise when …
















Page
Signalling Transition
Previewing what is to follow in a paper or dissertation
is like showing a map to a driver; it enables
them to see where they are going. So it is useful to think of a preview section as a 'road map' for the
reader. It must be accurate, but it must be easy to follow.
Writers are also expected to indicate to the
reader when they are moving from one topic to
another, or from on
section of text to another. These are known as transition statements and
examples of these, together with some previewing statements, are given below
(also refer to
A note
on Academic
Presentations)
Previewing a section of text
The following is a brief description of .
..
In the section that follows, it will be argued that ...
The problem of X is discussed in the following section.
A more detailed account of X is given in the follow
ing section.
The structure
and functions
of X will be explained in the following section.
The following part of this paper moves on to describe in greater detail the...
This introductory section provides a brief overview of ... It then goes on to ...
In the following
pages,
section,
paragraphs,
review …
argue that …
will describe how …
will briefly discuss …
will attempt to explore …
will present two influential theories of …
In the section
below,
that follows,
The section below
The following section
reviews …
describes …
presents …
discusses …
examines …
draws together …
What follows is
a review of …
a summary of …
an account of …
a description of …
a brief outline of …
a brief overview of …
Page
Previewing a
short paper
(also refer to
Introducing Work
In this paper, I argue that …
The aim of this paper is to …
The central thesis of this paper is that ...
In this paper, I discuss the strength and weakness of …
This paper has been divided into four parts. This first …
This paper
aims to …
begins by …
argues that …
gives an account of …
discusses the case of …
has been divided into …
analyses the impact of …
attempts to show that …
contests the claim that …
provides an overview of …
first gives a brief overview of …
Previewing a chapter
The aim of the chapter is to introduce …
This section will attempt to assess whether …
This chapter is subdivided into three sections.
In this chapter, I describe the data collection procedures and …
The second part highlights the k
ey theoretical concepts which …
This chapter of the dissertation is divided into two parts. The first ...
This part of the thesis discusses the findings which emerged from …
The purpose of this chapter is to review the literature on X. It begins by ...
s chapter is divided into four main sections, each of which presents the results relating to …
This chapter discusses the specific methods by which the research and analyses were conducted.
The main
topics
issues
themes
periods
developments
covered in
this chapter are …
his chapter
reviews …
assesses …
discusses
draws together …
attempts to provide …
describes the metho
ds used in this investigation. T
he first section ...
contextualises the research by providing background information on …
Page
Introducing a new topic or aspect of a topic
Regarding X,
...
As regards X,
In terms of X,
In the case of X
...
With regard to X,
With respect to X,
...
On the question of X, …
As far as X is concerned, ...
Another important aspect of X is …
Reintroducing a topic
As discussed above, ...
As explained earlier,
As previously stated, …
As indicated previously …
As described on the previous page,
As was mentioned in the previous chapter, ...
Page
Su
mmarising a section or chapter
Thus far
the thesis has argued that …
he previous section has shown that …
To conclude this section, the literature identifies …
This section has reviewed the three key aspects of
...
In summary, it has been shown
from this review that …
review
present
describe …
examine …
argue that …
comment on
use th
e results obtained to discuss …
The next chapter
The chapter
that follows
moves on to consider …
provides an account of …
presents a case study of …
establishes the framework for …
reviews the literature related to …
explores the relationship between …
summarises the main themes that emerged …




Page
Writing
about the P
Time phrases associated with th
e use of the simple past tense:
specific times or periods
of time in
the past, completed
In 1933,
From 1933 to 1945,
In the 1930s and 1940s,
During the Nazi
period,
Between 1933 and 1945,
restrictions were placed on German academics.
For centuries,
Throughout the 19th century,
At the start of the 19th century,
In the latter half of the 19th century,
At the beginning of the 19th century,
Towards the end of the 19th
century,
In the early years of the 19th century,
At the end of the nineteenth century,
In the second half of the 19th century,
authorities
in X
placed restrictions on academics.
In 1999,
Half a century later,
Following World War I,
Fleming
actively searched for anti
bacterial agents.
Fleming was named one of the
100 Most Important People
of the century.
Describing research history
using past tense constructions
The link between X and Y was established in
by Smith
et al
Prior to the
work of Smith (1983), the role of X was largely unknown.
Before 1950, the X had received only cursory attention from historians.
The construct of X was first articulated by Smith (1977) and popularised in his book: …
It was not until the late 1960s that h
istorians considered X worthy of scholarly attention.
Awareness of X is not recent, having possibly first been
described in the 5th century BCE
by …
The next research period involved innovative laboratory work in the late 1960s into the 1970s
Writing about the past in English is made difficult by the rather complex tense system. However
, the
phrases grouped below give an indication of the uses of the main tenses in academic writing. For a
comprehensive explanation of the uses of the various tenses you will need to consult a good English
grammar book. A good recommendation is
Practical English
Usage
by Michael Swan, Oxford
University Press.
Page
Time
phrases associated with the use of the present perfect tense
: past and present connected
To date, little evidence has been found associating X with Y.
Up to now, the research has tended to focus on X rather than on Y.
It is only since the work of Smith (2
001) that the study of X has gained momentum.
So far, three factors have been identified as being potentially important: X, Y, and Z.
Since 1965, these four economies have doubled their share of world production and trade.
Until recently, there has been
little interest in X.
Only in the past ten years have studies of X directly addressed how …
Recently, these questions have been addressed by researchers in many fields.
In recent years, researchers have investigated a variety of approaches to X but
...
Mor
e recently, literature has emerged that offers contradictory findings about
Over the past century there has been a dramatic increase in ...
The past decade has seen the rapid development of X in many
Over the past 30 years there has been a significant increase in
...
Over the past two decades, major advances in molecular biology have allowed …
Over the past few decades, the world has seen the stunning transformation of X, Y and Z.
The present perfect
tense may also be used to describe research or scholarly activity that has taken
place recently
Several studies have revealed that
Previous studies of X have not dealt with
...
A considerable amount of literature has been published on X.
Invasive pla
nts have been identified as major contributing factors for the decline of ....
The relationship between X
and Y
has been widely investigated (Smith, 1985, Jones, ...
The new material has been shown to enhance cooling properties (Smith, 1985, Jones, 1987).
There have been several investigations into the causes of illiteracy (Smith, 1985; Jones, 1987).
For reference to single investigations or publications in the past
the simple past tense is used
The first systematic study of X was reported by Smith
et al
in 1986.
The first experimental realisation of ..., by Smith
et al.
[12], used a ...
An experimental demonstration of this effect was first carried out by ...
Smith and Jones (1994) were the first to describe X, and reported that ...
as originally iso
lated from Y
in a soil sample from ... (Smith
et al.
, 1952).
Thirty years later, Smith (1974) reported three cases of ….
In the 1950s, Smith pointed to some of the ways in which ...
In 1975, Smith
et al.
published a paper in which they described
...
In 1984, Jones
et al.
made several amino acid esters of X and evaluated them as ...
In 1981, Smith and co
workers demonstrated that X induced in vitro resistance to
In 1990, Jones
et al.
demonstrated that replacement of H2O with heavy water led to ...
Page
Writing
bstracts
Highlighting the importance of
topic
X is vital for …
X plays a key role in …
X is a classic problem in …
Xs were a major element of …
There is a recognised need for …
X is a condition that is characterized by …
X is a pathogenic bacterium that causes …
Recently, there has been
renewed interest in …
Since the 1960s, gradual changes in X have been observed.
The X industry is estimated to be worth over $300 billion annually.
An abstract is a short statement
that describes a
much longer piece of writing or a prospective
conference presentation. Abstracts for research papers or theses
should provide
the
reader with a
quick overview of the entire study.
bstracts
written for PhDs
typically contain the following
elements:
Importance of
the
topic
and/or
Reference to
the
current literature
and/or
dentification of a knowledge gap
Aim
(s)
of the current study
Indication of
the
elements are listed below.
Page
Reference to current literature
Several studies have documented …
Studies of X show the importance of …
Several
attempts have been made to …
A growing body of evidence suggests …
X is becoming a common trend in Y research.
Recent studies related
to X
have shown that …
X has been the focus of much investigation in the search for …
X has emerged as a powerf
ul tool in studying the behaviour of …
There has been substantial research undertaken on the role of …
Previous research has indicated potential associations between …
X has attracted considerable attention, both scholarly and popular.
Identification of a knowledge gap
However, X
has
argues …
reports on …
investigates …
analyses
the
roles played by …
explores the degree to which …
addresses a neglected aspect of …
aims to portray the different ways in which …
examines the chronology and geography of …
seeks to understand and explain the role of …



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Indication of methods used
research is based on four case studies
Contemporary source material was used to examine …
This study provides a novel approach to quantifying X using …
This study used a phenomenographic approach to identify the …
An online survey provided quantitative
data from 670 participants.
Questionnaire assessments of X were collected from 116 adults who …
The study utilised a comparison control group design with three groups
of …
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Writing A
cknowledgements
The ‘a
cknowledgments
sections in PhD theses are not simply a polite formality. They
are
important
because they reveal and pay tribute to the other people
and to the bodies
who made the research
possible. Typically included are: funding
organisations
,
research institutes, ins
titutions,
supervisors,
collaborators, close colleagues and family members. In the majority o
cases, the structure moves
from acknowledging the more formal support (funding bodies, institutions, supervisors) to the most
familiar (close friends and family
members).
The phrases listed below illustrate some of the ways
that thanks and appreciation can be expressed.
Firstly,
Secondly,
Finally,
I wish to
I want to
I would like to
thank X
extend my thanks to X
express my gratitude to X
give a special than
k you to X
for his constant
for her continuous
advice.
support.
tolerance.
patience.
guidance.
forbearance.
reassurance.
encouragement.

Most of all,
In particular,
First and foremost,
Last but not least,
I would like to thank
my supervisor for …
the
University of X for …
each of the participants in this study for …
I am
also
very
deeply
forever
equally
eternally
especially
extremely
immensely
particularly
grateful to X for …





Page
I owe a great deal to …
I owe a debt of gratitude to …
want to express my gratitude to …
I am indebted to my supervisors for their …
I must thank X for the award of the funding which enabled me to undertake …
I think it is essential that I thank my long term friend and companion, X, for his …
I welcome this op
portunity to thank the friends, family and colleagues who provided …
I must express my sincere appreciation to X
for her constant and continued support and patience.
My
special
sincere
warmest
heartfelt
thanks
go to
are due to
who has always e
ncouraged me to …
who provided the help, guidance and support …
who has been an unstinting source of support …
who always made time to help and support me …
for his
continued support and patience.
for agreeing to participate in this study.
for her
guidance, encouragement and support.
for her academic supervision and personal support.
A very special thank you goes out to …
Thanks also to the University of X, for providing the data for …
Thanks to the staff of X for their contributions to the res
earch …
My gratitude is also extended to the following funding bodies:
supportive and patient throughout the writing of this thesis.
an unfailing source of encouragement, advice and reassurance.
a continuing source of encouragement and optimism throughout.
been supportive and has provided me with invaluable teaching opportunities.
X has offered valuable advic
e on specific aspects of ..
X has provided valuable assistance with accessing online resources.
X’s enthusiasm for my topic, was essential in
helping me complete this project.
X has monitored my progress and offered advice and encouragement throughout.
Page
Notes on Academic W
riting
Page
A note on academic style
The principal characteristics of written academic
style are listed below
vidence
based
Perhaps the most important distinguishing
feature of
written academic style is
that
it is
evidence
based. Writer
support their arguments and claims with evidence from the body of knowledge
relevant to their disci
pline. In addition,
any research that is undertaken
must make reference to
previous
work in the field. As a result, academic texts are rich in attributions
to other writers
and
references
to previous
research
, as seen in the examples below:
Previous studies have shown that
These sources suggest
that from the fifth century onwards
...
According to
the 1957 Annual Medical R
eport
, the death of the 960 inhabitants of
.
However, as has been shown elsewhere (e.g.
Smith,
1992), the increa
se
in
...
For further examples, r
efer to the section on
Referring to the L
iterature
in this document
In addition, general
propositions
are
usually
supported with
real examples
This can be seen in the case of
A good example of this can be found in
Words
of classical origin
Unlike everyday English, academic writing is characterised by a high frequency of words of classical
origin (Greek and Lat
in). The main reason for this i
s that Latin was the
lingua
academica
uring the
European renaissance; in other words,
it was the international language of scholars. Even up until
relatively recently, great
works of science
, such as Isaac Newton’s
Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia
Mathematica
(1687),
were written in
Latin.
here academic texts were written in English, words of
classical origin were used for concepts and phenomena for which there was no equivalent in English.
Although the
lingua academica
of today is English, writers of
academic English
still tend
to use words
which are derived from Latin
, and
also,
mainly through Latin, from Greek.
everyday
words
academic words
a lot of
big
worry


considerable
significant
synthesise
eradicate
insufficient
anecdote
object
difficulty
worry

Page
There are also some changes to grammatical word
(though these are not of classical origin)
everyday
words
academic
words
not much research
not many studies
isn’t any evidence

little
research
few studies
no evidence
Cautious
Academic writers are careful about the claims they make: they take care not to appear certain where
some doubt may exist, and they are careful not to over
generalise.
An example of this kind of
transformatio
n can be seen below
. The second sentence is in academic style
Drinking alcohol causes breast cancer in women.
Some studies suggest that drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer.
For more examples of this kind of language, r
efer to the section on
Being C
autious
Impersonal
In the interests of objectivity, a
cademic writers tend
to remove themselves from the
writing.
focus is on
what
happened
how
it was
done
and
what

was found
. The
who
’ (
the
writer)
is not
normally given
very
much
attention.
This is one of the reasons why personal pronouns
and ‘we’
tend not to be used.
In addition
, academic texts rarely address the reader directly and
the pronoun
normally used for this, ‘you’
, is
avoided.
The second sentence is in academic style:
You could say that Churchill made some catastrophic decisions early in the War
It can be said that Churchill made some catastrophic decisions early in the War
There are some exceptions: in certain disciplines, it may be appropriate for a writer to explain their
personal
interest in the research area. In some disciplines, the researcher may participate
in the
research as a participant
observer.
In these
cases, ‘I
’ will be used.
The example below, which
illustrates the former situation, is
taken from a dissertation in History.
I became interested in X after reading ……
I hope to convey some of my fascination for the
subject, as well as expressing my admiration of t
he artistic achievements of those involved
In research undertaken by teams, for example in medicine and science, it is common for the research
to be reported
using the per
sonal
pronoun
, e.g.
‘we’
No
in
alisation
There is a tendency
for
academic
writer
to
transform verbs
(actions)
into
nouns. In the example
below, the verb ‘abandoned’ becomes the abstract noun ‘abandonment’.
Unwanted Roman children were generally abandoned in a public place.
The a
bandonment of unwanted Roman children
generally occurred in a public place.
Page
As a result of this kind of transformation, academic writing is characterised by long noun phrase
constructions, as in:
‘the abandonment of unwanted Roman children’.
In certain cases, these
nominalised forms can bec
ome long and complex:
the effect of reducing aggressiveness by producing an ACTH
mediated condition of decreased
androgen levels
Although this kind of construction is considere
d normal in scientific writ
ing
unless the reader is
familiar with the
constructions
, it
does make reading difficult as there are so many pieces of
information to process in the one sentence. There is an argument that too much nominalisation
should be discouraged.
Rhetorical questions
uestions to introduce significant n
ew ideas
are avoided
, and are replaced
with
statements:
Is the
welfare system
good or not?
It is important to consider the effectiveness of the British
welfare system
7. Contracted forms avoided
Contracted forms (e.g.
it’s, don’t, isn’t, aren’t
) should not be used in academic writing. The only
exception would be if you
re transcribing a recorded conversation or interview.
Precise and detailed
Last
of all, one of the most
noticeable
features
of academic writing is that it is
very precise and
detailed.
Page
A note on
style in
academic
presentations
In contrast to written style, in
academic presentations, the
communicative
style tends to be much
more personal and familiar. The
majority of the
phrases listed below serve as useful ‘signposts’ for
poken academic presentations
‘Signposts’ help the listeners follow
here the talk is go
ing
. Notice
how the personal pronouns
‘I’, ‘we’
, and
‘you’
are used
in most of these phrases
ntroducing the presentation
In this paper,
I'd like to
report on a study which aimed to …
explore a very important aspect of
...
examine two important
problems facing ...
describe some of the more recent developments in …
I’ll mainly focus on …
This afternoon
,
I'd like to
discuss ...
describe ...
speak about ...
present my findings on …
address the question of …
The aim of my presentation is to
assess …
discuss …
explore …
examine…
compare …
argue that …
critically evaluate …
offer a new model for …
address the question of …
explore the ways in which …
report on the findings of my study which …
We know that
fundamental to …
a leading cause of …
an important aspect of …
has
plays
serves
a critical role in …
a pivotal role in …
Page
One of the most
pressing
important
interesting
challenging
problems in this area is ...
Defining and organising the topic
There are
three main types of X in ...
many different kinds of ...
In this paper, I use the term ‘X’ to refer to …
In this presentation
, I am using the term
to refer to …
X can best be treated under three
headings. These are: ...
I've divided my presentation into three sections. The first section …
Indicating sequence
First of all,
To begin with,
In the first part of this paper
I'd like to talk about ...
and then (I’ll) go on to …
I’ll begin by
I’ll then go on to …
Another important aspect of X is ...

Finally, I’ll
argue that
Finally, I'd like to consider X.
Highlighting statements
There are two important
causes of ...
reasons for ...
consequences of
It is worth noting that …
It is important to stress that …
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this is ...
What is important for us to recognise here, is that …
Page
Referring to a visual
If we could
focus for a moment on Figure 1, ...
turn for a
moment to look at Table 2, ...
we can see that …
Here we can see that …
This can be clearly seen when we look at …
We can see this clearly in the following diagram
Indicating transition
I'd like now to move on to
discuss …
examine …
consider …
address the question of …
Turning now to ...
Moving on to look at the relationship between …,
Having looked at ..., I'd now like to move on to discuss ...
Before I move on to consider X, I'd like to briefly look at ...
Concluding
a talk
In this presentation, I've
argued that …
shown that …
explained that …
So, to conclude
I’d like to conclude by saying that …
In conclusion, I'd like to suggest that ...
Are there any questions?
Does anyone have any questions?
That covers the
main points. If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them.
Page
A note on commonly confused words
Your spell checker will only indicate words that are misspelt and which it does not recognise.
However, if a misspelling results in a word which has another meaning or use, the spellchecker will
not show
you the correct form.
Here is a list of words which
are commonly confused:
bbreviation/acronym
An
abbreviation
is a shortened form of a word or phrase. Usually, but not always, it consists of a
letter or group of letters taken from the word or phrase.
. and
Prof
. are common examples.
An
acronym
is an abbreviation formed from the initial components in a phrase or a word. These
elements in turn form a new word:
NATO, Benelux, UNESCO.
affect/effect
fect
is a verb
,
e.g.
A affects B
Effect
is a noun and is therefore always used after an article/
determiner (‘an’ or ‘the’/
this
’),
e.g.
The
Greenhouse Effect
compliment/complement
Compliment
(verb) means to praise someone.
Complement
Page
precede/proceed
The verb
recede
means ‘to come before’.
The verb
proceed
means ‘to go forward’ or ‘to begin
to
carry out’.
principle/principal
Principle
is a noun which means ‘a basic belief, theory or rule’.
Principal
is an adjective which me
ans
‘main’ or ‘most important’; it can also refer to a head teacher
of a school
there/their
There
is used to indi
cate
Page
A note on British and US spelling
The most common difference which is noticed in academic writing concerns verbs which end in
ise/yse
Br. or
ize/yze
US:
analyse
Br.
analyze
US.
industrialise
Br.
v
ndustrialize
US.
summarise
Br. v
summarize
US
This difference also affects the nouns derived from the verbs:
organisation
Br.
v
organization
US.
globalisation
Br
globalization
US
colonisation
Br. v
colonization
US.
Another noticeable difference relates to words ending in
re
centre
Br.
v
center
US.
metre
Br. v
meter
US.
litre
Br. v
liter
US.
Below are some other differences. Can you see any patterns?
British
aeroplane
analogue
behaviour
catalogue
colour
connection
defence
dialogue
endeavour
encyclopaedia
fibre
foetus
instalment
labour
paediatric
plough
programme
rigour
sceptical
skilful
travelled
airplane
analog
behavior
catalog
color
connexion
defense
dialog
endeavo
encyclopedia
fiber
fetus
insta
lment
labor
pediatric
plow
program
rigor
skeptical
skillful
traveled
you
are
writing
for a British university or
British journal, you should use the British spelling.
Page
A note on punctuation
As the purpose of punctuation is to make written English easier to read and to make the meaning
clear and unambiguous,
good, accurate punctuation is important in academic writing. The following
notes highlight points of particular relevance to academic wr
iting.
1. Full stop .
To indicate the end of a sentence
To indicate an abbreviation such as
etc.,
et al.
(not always used)
To indicate an omission in a quoted text [
2. Comma ,
To separate two main parts of a sentence
(two clauses)
joined by words such as
and, or, but,
To separate a dependent part of a sentence (beginning with words such as
although, when,
because
) from the main part, particularly if the dependent part comes first in the sentence
To indicate additional information
however relevant it may be,
in a sentence
To indicate a non
defining relative clause
, which simply provides additional
information,
in a
sentence
To separate items in a list such as
apples, oranges, and pears
(note that the final comma
before
and
is oft
en omitted)
3. Colon :
To introduce an explanation:
The reason the experiment failed was obvious: the equipment
was faulty.
To introduce a list, particularly a grammatically complex list
ee the example below under
semi
colon
To introduce a direct quotation, particularly a long one:
Jones (2003) states that: ‘ ’.
4. Semi
colon ;
To separate two sentences that are very closely connected in meaning (optional, in place of a
full stop):
Some students prefer to write essays;
others prefer to give presentations.
To separate clearly items in a grammatically complex list:
For Aristotle, motion
is of four
kinds
: (1) motion which
; (2) motion which
; (3) motion which
...
; and (4) motion which
...
5. Quotation marks ‘ ’ /
“ ”
To indicate a direct quotation
To highlight words or phrases used in a special or unusual way:
Quotation marks are also
called ‘inverted commas’.
NB
Single quotation marks now seem to be more commonly used than double. For quotations within
quotations, use double quotation marks inside single (or single inside double).
6. Dash
Generally avoid in formal academic writing. Replace by colon, semi
olon, or brackets, as
appropriate.
Page
A note on article use
Article
use in English is a very complex area. However, there are a few simple rules which will help
you in many situations and these are explained below:
1. Singular countable nouns
All singular
countable nouns are always preceded by a small modifying word known in grammar as a
If the writer is thinking about a specific group, then the definite article is normally u
sed:
The books
in this collection were published in the 19th or early 20th century.
Otherwise no article is used:
Learners
tend to remember new facts when they are contextualised.
3. Uncountable nouns
Uncountable nouns are not normally accompanied by
an article
Science
has been defined as a systematic approach to answering questions.
Reliability
s an important quality of any test
But if they are post
modified by
...
.,
or
which
… the definite article is normally used:
The science
of global war
ming is a complex and controversial area.
The reliability
of this instrument is poor.
Chemistry is the
science
which addresses the composition and behaviour of matter.
Page
4. Names
Names and titles are not normally preceded by the definite article (
the
)
Manchester University, Manchester
But this changes if the noun phrase contains a post
modifying structure (
e University of Manchester,

The United States of America
or if they contain words like
organisation,
association or institute
The World
Health Organisation,
The American Heart Association, The Royal Society. The SETI
Institute
Apart from these simple rules, the other thing you need to do is to check how noun phrases are used
in the texts that you read. Make a mental note of this as you r
ead, or check back to the source text
when you are writing.
Page
ote on sentence structure
Simple sentences
In written English
all sentences contain a Subject → Verb structure
.
The subject always precedes the
verb, except in questions
where the order is reversed.
An electron
an elementary particle.
The subject may be one word, but it is usually a group
words centre
around a noun.
The verb,
which can indicate an action, a state, or simply serve to link the subject to other information, may
also consist of more than one word.
Various
other sentence
elements may be placed before or after
the Subject → Verb structure:

Between 1933 and 1945,
restrictions
were placed

on German academics.
t is common for the subject to consist of many words:
The information on various types of
wasps and bees in the report
was
useful to environmentalists who were
fighting the use of pesticides.
Sometimes, however,
the subject and verb can just be one word each
almost certain that a lower speed limit will result in fewer injuries to pedestrians.
These s
imple sentences always end with
a full stop. In academic writing, however, many sentences
are more complicated than this simple pattern.
Complex sentences
Many sentences contain more than one Subject → Verb structure, but one of these parts
(known
grammatically as clauses)
will con
vey the main meaning and will make sense by itself:
Dependent part
Main part


S




S

Although
findings of recent research have shown
no controlled studies have been reported.
The main part of the sentence is also known as the independent part.
Page
The main part of the sentence can also be placed
before the dependent part.
Main part

S V
Oral societies tend to be more concerned with the present
Dependent part

S V
whereas literate societies have a
very definite awareness of the past.
The dependen
t part of complex sentence is
usually preceded by a word
or phrase
such as:
although
,
even though,
if,
even if,
when, because, as, since, whereas, while
(refer to
subordinators
on the next
page).
Compound sentences
Some sentences may have two Subject →
Verb structures and each
of these convey meaning that
can make sense by itself
; in other words, there are two main parts.
The two parts may be joined by
words like
and,
or,
but,
, or by using a
semi
colon
(;)
Supporters of the ‘Great Divide’ theory
agree
that something is lost as well as gained when
people
become literate,
but
they
consider
it is worth losing some benefits in order to obtain many others.
Common problems
relating to sentence structure
Problems occur
in writing
when
dependent parts of sentences are written as comp
lete sentences
with a full stop:
hereas literate societies have a very definite awareness of the past.
Although a number of studies have been undertaken.
Problems also occur when
two independent parts are written as one sentence without a joining word.
Supporters of the ‘Great Divide’ theory agree that something is lost as well as gained when


people become
literate, they consider it is worth losing some benefits in order to obtain many
others.
Page
A note on
words and phrases used to connect ideas
As well as using
simple conjunctions
(e.g.
and, but, or
) to link ideas,
academic
writers have available
to them
broad
range of more
phisticated words and phrases
ome of the more commonly
used
ones are listed below
Words and phrases which
link ideas across two
sentences
Words or phrases
which precede
a noun
phrase
Subordinators:
express
relationships within one
sentence (with two clauses)
Addition
also
moreover
in addition
furthermore
in addition to
Adversativity
yet
however
nevertheless
on the other hand
despite
in spite of
although
even though
Aspect
in this
respect
in other respects
from this perspective
Clarification
that is
in other words
Consequence
thus
hence
therefore
as a result
consequently
Contrast
however
in contrast
on the other hand
unlike
in contrast to
while
whereas
Illustration
for example
for instance
Reason
due to
owing to
because of
on account of
since
because
Sequence
first
first of all
secondly
finally
in conclusion
He did not sleep very much.
However
, he still managed to pass the exam.

He did not sleep very much;
however
, he still managed to pass the exam.
Despite
the lack of sleep, he still managed to pass the exam
He still managed to pass the exam,
despite
the lack of sleep.
Even though
he was unable to sleep, he still managed to pass the exam
He
still
managed to pass the exam
even though
he was unable to sleep.
Page
A note on paragraph structure
A pattern that can be identified in many well
written paragraphs is that of a controlling idea followed
Topic Sentence
(new point, expressed in general terms)
Supporting Information which
may include a combination of:
statistics
examples
quotations
a development in time
an explanation or reason
specific aspects or details
an effect or consequence
reference to previous research
It is important that the explanatory or supporting
information in a paragraph should relate to the
topic sentence. If new points or ideas are to be stated, then these should be treated in a separate
paragraph. It is also important that the explanatory or supporting information should not repeat the
general
ideas expressed in the topic sentence.
An example of the kind of paragraph structure suggested above is given below. Note the
development from the general idea to the more detailed information. Also note the thematic linking
which is signalled by the wo
Cycling
alters the anatomical position of the spine (to a flexed
position) particularly the thoracic spine, and exposes the anterior
portion of the vertebral column to higher compressio
n (
Smith,
1998; Jones, 2002).
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A note on the writing process

which are concerned with how we write. It is organised into a series of helpful tips. Although o
nly
two pages are devoted to these ideas, together they have the potential to make a significant
deference to the quality and quantity of your written output.


Tip No. 1
.
The importance of planning
: Research has shown that
experienced writers plan
extensively. Initially, planning may
involve simply generating ideas and exploring the relationships
more advanced stage of the planning process, a chapter outline of
the thesis or dissertati
on will be necessary. This will become more
plan as a road map. Without a map, you will probably lose your
way or travel in circles.


Tip No. 2. Getting started
: Many writers suffer from
writers
block; they find it difficult to get started. One way of overcoming
this is to give yourself a short period of time (say four minutes),
and without stopping, write whatever comes into your mind about
the topic. The important thing to do is to ke
ep writing, or if you are
using a keyboard, to keep typing. Dont worry about spelling of
grammar


just keep producing words. You will be surprised at
how much text you will produce
,

and how many ideas are
generated in such a short time. Now you can begin

to organise the
ideas you have produced, ensuring that they are written in logically developed and grammatically
correct sentences.


Tip No. 3. Be regular
may seem obvious,

writing period each day, and aim to produce some text every time. How much you produce will vary,
and what you produce, even if it is just a few paragraphs, may only be in the
initial draft stage. This is
not so important. The important thing is that the writing becomes a part of your daily routine. Simply


Tip No. 4. Keep a noteboo
k:

When we are writing up a major piece
of work, many ideas and insights come to us when we are not
actually writing. Often, some of the most insightful ideas emerge
when we are in a non
-
focused cognitive state, such as when we are
walking, running
,

or swi
mming. Unless you can capture these ideas
soon after they come to you, they may be lost. A small notebook
and a pen is probably the best way to capture these thoughts
before they disappear. The notebook itself can become a place
where you develop the ideas

and even start to formulate how the ideas will be developed in textual
form.

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139

|
Page


Tip No. 5
.
Understand the recursive process:

Writing at the
academic level is not something we can do once and then leave. It
is a recursive process. This means writers return
to their initial
texts, revising and redrafting them. This process is ongoing. In fact,
many writers find it difficult to stop improving their writing, but
with time being limited, they try to do as much as they can before
e. One thing we do know:
successful writers write initial drafts, redraft, work on final drafts and then edit their work.



Tip No. 6. Read your own writing:

Read what you have written back to yourself, out loud if necessary,
and ask yourself: i) do I understand what I have written? ii) does it sound natural? Reading your text
out load is actually the best way of checking this. If what you have written doesnt sound right to you
when you do this, it is probably badly written. One famous French writer (Gust
av Flaubert) used to
shout out his manuscripts before sending them off to be published. He claimed that bad writing
never passed this simple test.



Tip No. 7. Stand back from your writing:

Think of yourself as a
mountain climber. Most climbers, during a
climb, can only see a
few feet in front of their faces. They cannot see the whole
mountain. They can see other mountains, but not the one they are
such a distance, they can see the route they

are planning and they
can see how their planned route moves up the mountain. As a
writer, you should ask yourself: Is the route to the top unbroken?
Do all the minor steps move upwards? Can the minor steps be
carried out more clearly? The best wa
y to create a sense of distance with your writing is with time:
of the overall structure.




Tip No. 8. Talk about your writing:

Writing is a very solita
ry activity and we tend not to talk about it
to others. This is quite strange given that we spend so many hours on this activity. Asking another
person to read some of what you have written and to give feedback can be a very useful experience;
particularl
y if the feedback is reciprocal and both of you receive constructive criticism. It is worth
bearing in mind that academic writers often receive their papers back from journal editors or
publishers asking them to make changes. You might also consider formin
g a group of writers like








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