Writing a paper, presenting results and data – day 4: describing data and making comparisons

Writing a paper, presenting results and data – day 4: describing data and making comparisons

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Comparative adjectives

comparative adjectives are often use to describe results. For example:

Study group A showed a much greater improvement than group B.

Table 1: Making comparative adjectives

Type of adjective Rule Comparative adjective
One-syllable adjectives +er short → shorter
One-syllable adjectives that end: consonant + vowel + consonant double the last consonant +er big → bigger
Two syllable adjectives ending in ‘y’ remove ‘y’ +ier easy → easier
Adjectives with two or more syllables use ‘more’ before adjective popular → more popular
Irregular adjectives NO RULE good → better

bad → worse

You may also need to use adverbs of frequency, which are listed below in order of increasing frequency:

Never > rarely > seldom > occasionally > sometimes > often > generally > usually > always.

Other common words for describing data are:

Less, fewer, more, much, many

Read the extract below from the same results section as yesterday with many useful comparisons and other phrases.

Results: contact matrices

The contact matrices showed overall higher contacts between all age groups in every period compared to Lockdown 1, with increased clustering around the diagonal matrix elements indicating higher rates of contact between those of similar ages (Fig 6). This resulted in higher estimates of the basic reproduction number under controlled conditions (Rc). The periods with the highest Rc were between July and August 2020, which corresponds to lockdown easing and government incentives encouraging the public to dine in restaurants, where contacts particularly increased in 18 to 49 year olds and older adults (>60 year olds). As schools reopened in September 2020 following the summer vacation, an increase in contacts between children increased Rc by a factor of 3.17 (95% CI 3.06 to 3.27) relative to Lockdown 1 and 2.12 (95% CI 2.05 to 2.18) when assuming equal transmissibility in all age groups or assuming age-dependent transmissibility estimates relevant to SARS-CoV-2, respectively.

Severe restrictions remained in place over the Christmas holidays (for much of the population) and during Lockdown 3. However, because early childhood education institutions remained open during Lockdown 3, higher contact rates were reported between <4 year olds (S6 Fig). An increase in contacts between school-age children and a slight increase in contacts among adults were found during the periods when schools reopened during Lockdowns 2 and 3 (S6 Fig). This resulted in an Rc much greater than other lockdown periods, for example, during Lockdown 2, we estimated Rc to be 2.42 (95% CI 2.31 to 2.53) and 1.60 (95% CI 1.54 to 1.66) times higher than Lockdown 1, for equal and COVID-like transmissibility by age, respectively.

This extract is taken from: Gimma A, Munday JD, Wong KLM, Coletti P, van Zandvoort K, et al. (2022) Changes in social contacts in England during the COVID-19 pandemic between March 2020 and March 2021 as measured by the CoMix survey: A repeated cross-sectional study. PLOS Medicine 19(3): e1003907. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003907

You may wish to read the whole of the results section of the above article here, where you will find many more phrases for describing the data.

Useful phrases

higher contacts… compared to Lockdown 1: comparative to state that one thing was greater than another

with increased clustering: referring to an increase in the data

indicating higher rates: comparative again – more than before

an increase in contacts: referring to an increase in the data

higher contact rates: comparative again comparing now and before

a slight increase: the adjective ‘slight’ tells us that the increase was small

much greater than: ‘much greater’ tells us that the increase was big

1.60 times higher than: this gives us a numerical quantity for the difference

Further study for this week

Try writing up some results of a recent experiment you have made including tables of data and descriptions about what can be understood from the data. Try the short quiz below to test your understanding.

Lesson tags: describing data, English for scientists, making comparisons, presenting results and data
Back to: English for Scientists