Language for science – day 1: introducing your work part 1

Language for science – day 1: introducing your work part 1

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Language to introduce your work is commonly used in the abstract and introduction. These words and phrases are also useful when presenting your work at conferences or discussing it with interested parties.

Which tense?

It is common for writers to use the present simple tense or the present perfect tense when discussing their work in an abstract.

Phrases for emphasising the importance of something
The importance of X is increasingly apparent… The importance of development in this sector is increasingly apparent.
It is undeniable that X is of great importance… It is undeniable that the efficient dissemination of information is of great importance.
We can see that X is an essential factor in… We can see that education is an essential factor in rates of socioeconomic growth.
Discussing previous/existing work (or lack of)
There has been little focus on providing X… There has been little focus on providing a holistic view of the long-term effects of a change in habitat.
Our understanding of X is incomplete. Our understanding of the life cycle of this sub-species is incomplete.
Where previous studies have focussed on X, our work centres around Y. Where previous studies have focussed on internal factors, our work centres around external influences.
The role of X has received far less attention than Y. The role of native species has received far less attention compared with invasive species.
Extending an already published paradigm,… Extending an already published paradigm, we aim to identify stressors that inhibit growth.
Detailing your approach
We apply a X approach to… We apply a creative approach to this problem.
We discuss these results in relation to… We discuss these results in relation to long-term effects on native species.
We discuss the relative importance of X in determining… We discuss the relative importance of air pressure in determining optimum ventilation.
We highlight potential difficulties…


We highlight potential difficulties in identifying the true function of these subspecies.
Adopting a X approach, we + verb…


Adopting a dynamic approach, we aim to improve current access to information.
Useful verbs for discussing your work
verb …often used with these nouns
to establish connection, link, benchmark, principle,
to highlight difficulties, plight, importance, need, lack
to identify differences, deficiencies, hazard, factors, priorities, requirements
to discuss issue, matter, proposal, topic,
to demonstrate importance, potential, viability, existence, presence
to combine method, analysis, approach
to implement measures, strategy guidelines, recommendations,
Examples of this language in use

The extract below shows how some of this language can be used.


The earliest hominin archaeological sites preserve a record of stone tools used for cutting and pounding. Traditionally, sharp-edged flakes were seen as the primary means by which our earliest ancestors interacted with the world. The importance of pounding tools is increasingly apparent. In some cases, they have been compared with stone hammers and anvils used by chimpanzees for nut-cracking. However, there has been little focus on providing a robust descriptive and quantitative characterization of chimpanzee stone tools, allowing for meaningful comparisons between chimpanzee groups and with archaeological artefacts. Here we apply a primate archaeological approach to characterize the range of chimpanzee nut-cracking stone tools from Djouroutou in the Taï National Park. By combining a techno-typological analysis, and two- and three-dimensional measures of damage, we identify clear differences in the location and extent of damage between nut-cracking hammerstones and anvils used at Djouroutou and when compared with other wild chimpanzee populations. Furthermore, we discuss these results in relation to interpretations of Plio-Pleistocene percussive technology. We highlight potential difficulties in identifying the underlying function of percussive artefacts based on morphological or techno-typological attributes alone. The material record from Djouroutou represents an important new datum of chimpanzee regional and material culture.

  1. Introduction

Our earliest ancestors used a variety of stone tools to interact with, and modify the world around them [1–4]. Tools used for cutting and pounding tasks provided a competitive advantage in accessing different food sources, thus influencing the cultural and biological evolution of our species [5,6]. The role of percussive artefacts for understanding Plio-Pleistocene hominin subsistence has received far less attention compared with stone flake technology [7–10]. Both hammerstones and anvils used for percussive behaviours have been identified at several Plio-Pleistocene archaeological sites and indeed form a component of archaeological assemblages into the Later Stone Age [1,7,9–14].

Extract is taken from: Proffitt Tomos, Reeves Jonathan. S., Pacome Soiret Serge and Luncz Lydia. V. 2022 Identifying functional and regional differences in chimpanzee stone tool technology R. Soc. open sci. 9: 220826. 220826. http://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.220826

Try the short multiple-choice quiz below to test your understanding.

Lesson tags: English for scientists, introducing your work, language for science
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