Data and language for research- day 1: language for reporting data

Data and language for research- day 1: language for reporting data

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When discussing your work, it’s important to be able to use a variety of language for reporting data.

Language for reporting data

A respondent (meaning: a person who responds to a survey, questionnaire or poll)

A high proportion of respondents reported not knowing about the available funding.

A subset (meaning: a small group which is part of a larger group)

Each species can be divided into various subsets.

The prefix ‘sub-‘ is often used in front of nouns/adjectives to describe:

  • a smaller part of a bigger thing (e.g. a subset)
  • things that are under something (e.g. a submarine)
  • things that are below or less than something (e.g. sub-zero temperatures)
  • further to the south (e.g. sub-Saharan Africa)
  • something/someone that is less important or smaller in size than (e.g. a sub-post office)

To categorize (meaning: to group things based on their qualities)

The samples were categorizes according to country of origin.

To characterize (meaning: to be a typical or common feature of  a place, a person or a thing)

The distinct architecture characterizes the city.

To disclose (meaning: to share information, particularly something that was a secret)

  • These adverbs are often used with this verb: fully, publicly, voluntarily
  • These nouns are often used after this verb (as the object): data, information, details, content

Participants were not asked to disclose their marital status.

To note (meaning: to notice or mention something OR to record something by writing it down)

We can also use the following phrases when we want to draw attention to something: it is worth noting that, it should be noted that, it must be noted that

Analysts noted a sharp decline in economic growth.

Participants were asked to note any changes in sleep quality during the study.

To record (meaning: to write something down in order to make a permanent account of it)

  • Pronunciation: The word stress of this word changes in the noun form – a record
  • These adverbs are often used with this verb: carefully, accurately, daily, regularly, digitally, manually, systematically

Patients recorded their sleep patterns daily using a specially-designed application.

To report (meaning: to give information about something that has happened)

These adverbs are often used with this verb: accurately, falsely, consistently

After being administered a higher dose of the medication, patients reported new side-effects.

To score (meaning: to give something a value or number of points)

Researchers scored the samples according to quality and how intact they were.

To submit (meaning: to officially give something to someone so they can analyse it)

These nouns are often used with this verb: details, evidence, information, data, abstract, article, document, report, review, work, comment, response, question, application, request.

After submitting their data to the research team, participants were asked to complete a follow-up questionnaire.

Examples of this language in use

These extracts from different parts of the same article show how some of this language can be used.

Epidemic dreams: dreaming about health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Extract 1 – From section on Materials and Methods

2.1.2. Dream reports

A survey was posted on 23 March and the responses were downloaded for analysis on 15 July. The survey asked respondents to submit ‘any dreams you have had related to the COVID-19 coronavirus’. The survey also enquired about age, gender and nationality. The survey was announced on 11 Facebook groups—three smaller ones (611–7461 members) focused on dreaming, and eight larger ones (27 961–41 351 members) focused on the pandemic. The survey has also been linked from articles in major media in the USA, Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand and India. The survey is still ongoing at the time of the writing; in this study, we used the responses collected as of 15 July, for a total of 2888 participants. Participants were invited to submit multiple relevant dreams, but only the first dream from each was used, in order not to bias the results towards prolific dream reporters. Respondent‘s ages ranged from 18 to 91 years, with a median of 40 and a standard deviation of 16.89. Among all the subjects, the vast majority were women (1998), and 68 identified as either gender-neutral or transgender; this subset was deemed not large enough or consistent enough to analyse in the present study, but it may be included in future analyses as the survey N grows. Nationalities, in decreasing frequency, were USA (2011), British (249), Italian (212), Canadian (173), Spanish (91) Indian (54), Peruvian (54), German (46), Mexican (42), Australian (34), Brazilian (33), French (22), Polish (22) and 73 other nationalities with less than 20 respondents each. The dream reports in our analysis are all written in English.

Extract 2 – from Discussion

Some of our results match findings previously reported by survey-based studies on the effect of the pandemic on sleeping or dreaming, speaking to the external validity of our results. At the beginning of the pandemic, a study asked 1091 participants in Italy to not only score their dream frequency but also characterize their dreams in terms of emotions, vividness, bizarreness and length [14]. Like our results, compared with pre-lockdown period, increased emotional load and higher frequency of nightmares were reported. Increased anxiety was reported too, in agreement with the four themes found in our network analysis: panic, anxiety, phobia and fear. Another survey with 90 adults asked participants to categorize the content of their dreams according to an adaptation of the Typical Dream Questionnaire [22].

These extracts are taken from: Šćepanović Sanja, Aiello Luca Maria, Barrett Deirdre, Quercia Daniele, 2022 Epidemic dreams: dreaming about health during the COVID-19 pandemic R. Soc. open sci. 9211080211080 http://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.211080

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Lesson tags: English for scientists, language for reporting data
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