Writing a paper – day 4: language for what your research contains or involves

Writing a paper – day 4: language for what your research contains or involves

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  1. to make up (phrasal verb) (meaning: to combine and form something)

E.g. In the field of engineering, women make up a mere 14.5% of the workforce.

E.g. (passive) The settlement is made up of one communal dining area and twelve familial huts. 

  1. to comprise/ be comprised of (meaning: to have multiple parts/members)

This verb can be used in the active or passive form, with little change in meaning.

E.g. The course comprises 10 units.

E.g. (passive) The course is comprised of 10 units. 

  1. to consist of (phrasal verb) (meaning: to be made of certain things – which are then mentioned)

E.g. The treatment consists of oral medication and a topical cream. 

  1. to consist in (phrasal verb) (meaning: to have something as the most important or only part)

E.g. The popularity of the brand consists in its stylish practical designs. 

  1. to constitute

– to be seen/considered as something

E.g. Their actions, although well meaning, constituted a criminal offence.

– to be parts that combine to form something

E.g. In the field of engineering, women constitute a mere 14.5% of the workforce. 

  1. to contain

– when something has something inside it or as part of it

E.g. The samples contained high numbers of micro plastics.

– to stop something dangerous or harmful from spreading

E.g. In order to contain the outbreak, the residents were placed in lockdown.

– to make sure something stays within limits

E.g. In order to contain the use of food and water supplies, we applied a system of rationing.

– to controls one’s feelings

E.g. They were unable to contain their disappointment when they received the bad news. 

  1. to encompass

– to include a range of things

E.g. The sample group encompasses patients from a range of backgrounds.

to cover, include or surround something completely

E.g. The national park encompasses 300 hectare 

  1. to include
  • to have someone/something as a part

When used in this sense, this verb is a state verb and cannot be used in the continuous/progressive form.

E.g. The report includes details on the treatment’s cost, availability and side effects.

(!) The report is including details

  • to make someone/something part of something else such as a group or set.

When used in this sense, this verb can be used in the continuous/progressive form.

E.g. We will be including members of the community in the discussion.

  1. to incorporate
  • to add something to something else or include something as part of something else

This verb is often followed by the preposition ‘into’

E.g. We incorporated a range of new methods into our experiment.

     (business – usually passive) to make a company that is legally recognised

E.g. The company was incorporated by Eleanor Da Costa in 2004.

Other useful verbs:
  1. to shed light on something (meaning: to make something easier to understand by providing new information)

Also possible (with the same meaning) – to cast light on something, to throw light on something

E.g. We hope that our research will shed light on the causes of this condition.

E.g. Their observations cast new light on an otherwise mysterious species.

Examples of this language in use

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

2. Methods

From: (a) Study site and field methods

By targeting previously genotyped birds, we were able to sample an equal number of males and females (n = 40 per sex) that encompassed most of the common MHC class IIB genotypes in the population (see electronic supplementary material).

From: (b) Chemical analyses

We used previously described methods to measure the chemical profiles associated with Leach’s storm-petrel feathers [38]. We analysed samples from each bird in triplicate. Each replicate consisted of two feathers that were weighed and placed into a 10 ml glass vial. Vials were heated to 40°C and we extracted compounds from the headspace of the feathers over 6 h using a 10 mm Twister® stir bar (Gerstel Inc, Germany).

The information contained within complex chemical profiles is often encoded by a subset of the compounds present, rather than the entire suite of chemicals [40]. Previous studies have used dimension reduction methods to divide the chemical profile into smaller groups of compounds that can be examined in relation to genetic markers [29,41,42]. This approach offers several advantages: it can allow for the detection of subtly encoded genetic signatures that may be missed in the overall chemical profile, and it can aid in identifying the compounds that are involved in chemical communication. We performed a principal components analysis (PCA) to reduce the chemical profiles of Leach’s storm-petrels into several testable variables (PCA in R package FactoMineR [43]).

From (c): Genetic analyses

As a measure of each individual’s MHC diversity, we determined the distance between the alleles that comprise their genotype, with higher values reflecting larger functional differences between the alleles and thus a more diverse genotype. We also constructed matrices based on the maximum distance between the genotypes of every dyad of individuals.

4. Discussion

Covariation between the MHC and the avian microbiome has been documented in this population of Leach’s storm-petrels [75], the blue petrel [76] and the song sparrow [77]. A three-factor analysis incorporating the microbiome, chemical profiles and MHC (e.g. [77]) would be valuable to shed light on the mechanisms at play in the Leach’s storm-petrel.

This extract is taken from: Jennings Sarah L., Hoover Brian A., Wa Sin Simon Yung and Ebeler Susan E., 2022, Feather chemicals contain information about the major histocompatibility complex in a highly scented seabird, Proc. R. Soc. B. 289: 20220567. 20220567. http://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2022.0567

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Lesson tags: English for scientists, language for research, what something contains, what something involves
Back to: English for Scientists