Writing a paper, presenting results and data – day 5: quantifying measurements and amounts

Writing a paper, presenting results and data – day 5: quantifying measurements and amounts

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Phrases for measurements and amounts

When describing results authors have to frequently use words that give quantitative analysis to describe the data they have collected and to describe the useful and interesting characteristics of it.

Below are some typical phrases that might be useful in quantifying research:

To measure / to calculate / to determine / to estimate…

The size of / the amount of / the number of / the volume of / the level of / the frequency of / the percentage of…

…was calculated as/with…

…was calculated as follows

…was determined as…

…was measured by…

The calculations show

Table 1: words describing amounts

all of most of lots of approximately parity some of small amount of
exactly virtually many nearly equal to several a fraction of
precisely almost much roughly the equivalent of fewer than xx% little
nearly numerous vaguely is equal to a limited number no (amount of)
majority countless within the range of in balance with of these very few
a significant number proportional to scarce
half a quarter lack of

Below are some common words to describe the order of what is being reported:

In alphabetical order

In chronological order

In numerical order

In sequence of

Ranked by

Graded according to

Categorised by / category

Read the results extract below, this is again from the same paper as yesterday, which can be found here.

Results: participants characteristics

Overall, we recorded 101,350 observations from 19,914 participants who reported 466,710 contacts over 53 weeks (March 23, 2020 to March 29, 2021). About a quarter of the participants (n = 4,574) were proxy respondents (i.e., the survey was completed by parents on behalf of children), and 15,340 were adults. The median number of responses per participant was 6 (min–max 1 to 9) with 20.6% (4,098) responding only once. We did not follow up with participants to gather information about reasons for dropping out.

The sample consisted of 8,714 (52.8%) females and 7,790 (47.2%) males. Participants were assigned socioeconomic category based on occupation by the Ipsos MORI company (see key for socioeconomic categorisation in S1–S4 Text), which categorised 11,743 (63.1%) participants in socioeconomic category A, B, or C1 and 6,880 (36.9%) in C2, D, or E (S2 Fig). The NHS England region with the most participants was the Midlands with 4,029 (20.2%) participants, and the North West had the fewest with 1,931 (9.7%). The characteristics of the participants were consistent over the different analysis periods, with slight variations over the course of the study, particularly in gender balance and household size (Table 3). For instance, around 14% of the participants lived in a single person household in the initial recruitment round versus around 16 to 17% for later recruitment periods.

While participants were recruited to fill quotas by age and gender, participation varies by wave. A total of 32.0% of participants 18 to 29 completed 6 or more rounds of the survey, while 27.9% completed only 1 round (S1 Table). Moreover, 60 to 69 year olds had the highest percentage of participants complete 6 or more rounds at 64.8% and the lowest percentage of participants completing only 1 round at 10.0%. In children’s panels 36.6% to 38.7% of participants in the child’s age group completed 6 or more rounds, and 18.9% to 22.5% completed only 1 round, not including those with an unknown age group (S2 Table).

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

Useful phrases from the results extract

we recorded: describing the measurement

About a quarter of: an approximate fraction

The median number of: giving an average

the most participants / the fewest: describing the largest and smallest sections

Participants were assigned socioeconomic category: describing how the sample was ordered

around 14% of: a specific numerical quantity (percentage)

fill quotas by: describing the order of the sample

the highest percentage of / the lowest percentage of: describing the largest and smallest sections

only 1 round: describing the number of times a group was engaged in the study

Further study for this week

Hopefully you have been able to write up a results section in English this week and using the vocabulary and phrases in the Daily Journal to help. Try the short quiz below to test your understanding.

Lesson tags: describing data and results, English for scientists, quantifying amounts, quantifying measurements
Back to: English for Scientists