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Describing the scope of a current project or prior research

Purpose Original Word/Phrase Recommended Substitute

To express the purpose of a  aims to This paper + [use the verb that
paper or research originally followed "aims to"] or
 This paper/ study/ This paper + (any other verb
investigation… listed above as a substitute for
“explain”) +
who/what/when/where/how X.
For example:
 “This paper applies X to Y,”
instead of, “This paper aims to
apply X to Y.”
 “This paper explores how lower
sun exposure impacts moods,”
instead of, “This paper aims to
address the impact of lower sun
exposure on moods.”

To introduce the topic of a  discusses  surveys

project or paper  presents  questions
 The paper/ study/ article/ work…
 highlights
 Prior research/ investigations…
 outlines
 features
 investigates

To describe the analytical scope  considers  evaluates

of a paper or study  analyzes  interprets
 The paper/ study/ article/ work…
 explains  clarifies
 Prior research/ investigations…
 identifies
 delves into
 advances
 appraises
 defines
 dissects
 probes
 tests
 explores

*Adjectives to describe degree

can include: briefly, thoroughly,
adequately, sufficiently,
inadequately, insufficiently, only
partially, partially, etc.

To preview other sections of a  covers  outlines

paper  deals with  highlights
 Section X…
 talks about  sketches
 assesses
 contemplates

[any of the verbs suggested as

replacements for “explain,”
“analyze,” and “consider” above]

B. Outlining a topic’s background

Purpose Original Word/Phrase Recommended Substitute

To discuss the historical  plays an important in Topic significantly/considerably +

significance of a topic [nominalization]  influences
 Subject/ Mechanism…  plays a vital role in  controls
 regulates
 directs
 inhibits
 constrains
 governs

+ who/what/when/where/how…

*In other words, take the

nominalized verb and make it the
main verb of the sentence.

To describe the historical  …is widely accepted as…  Widely accepted, … [to eliminate
popularity of a topic  …is widely used as… the weak be verb]
 X Theory…  The preferred…
 Commonly/Frequently
implemented,… [to eliminate the
weak be verb]
 The prevailing method for…

To describe the recent focus on  Much attention has been drawn  Discussions regarding X have
a topic to dominated research in recent
 …has gained much importance years.
in recent years  …has appealed to…
 …has propelled to the forefront
in investigations of Y.
 … has dramatically/significantly
shaped queries on X in recent
 …has critically influenced
academic dialogue on Y.
To identify the current majority  The consensus has been that…  Prior research generally confirms
opinion about a topic that…
 Several studies agree that…
 Prior research substantiates the
belief that…

To discuss the findings of  indicate  contend

existing literature  have documented  purport
 Previous studies…
 have demonstrated  suggest
 have shown that  proffer
 have proven that
 evidence

To express the breadth of our  Much is known about…  The academic community has
current knowledge-base,  But, little is known about… extensively explored X…
including gaps  Prior research has thoroughly
 However, little research has
been conducted to show…
 However, prior studies have
failed to evaluate/ identify / (any
other word suggested to replace
“analyze” above)

To segue into expressing your  Several theories have been  Recent/Previous studies have
research question proposed to explain… promoted…
 To solve this problem, many  Prior investigations have
researchers have tried several implemented/ queried diverse
methods approaches to…
 A number of authors have

C. Describing the analytical elements of a paper

Purpose Original Word/Phrase Recommended Substitute

To express agreement between  supports  substantiates

one finding and another  confirms
 This paper/ study/ investigation
 corroborates
 underlines

To present contradictory findings  calls into question  challenges

 This paper/ study/ investigation  disputes
 rebuts
 refutes
 disproves
 debunks
 invalidates
 rejects
 questions

To discuss limitations of a study  The limitations of this paper  These investigations, however,
include: disregards…
 This method/ approach fails to…
 This study only…
 …falls short of addressing/
identifying / illustrating…
 A drawback/disadvantage of this
framework is…
 This framework, however, solely
pertains to…

D. Discussing results

Purpose Original Word/Phrase Recommended Substitute

To draw inferences from results  suggest  extrapolate

 The data…  show  deduce
 These findings…  surmise
 approximate
 derive
 extract
 evidence

To describe observations  appeared  manifested

 [Observed event or result]…  was observed to  surfaced
 materialized
 yielded
 generated
 perceived
 detected

E. Discussing methods

Purpose Original Word/Phrase Recommended Substitute

To discuss methods  used  applied

 This study…  performed  administered
 X method…  employed
 diffused
 disseminated
 relayed

To describe simulations  was created to… This study/ research…

 A simulation…  was used to…  simulated
 was performed to…  replicated
 imitated

“X environment/ condition to..”

[any of the verbs suggested as

replacements for “analyze”

F. Explaining the impact of new research

Purpose Original Word/Phrase Recommended Substitute

To explain the impact of a  demonstrates  illustrates

paper’s findings  shows  proves
 This paper/ study/ investigation
 evidences
 strengthens (the position that)

To highlight a paper’s conclusion  establishes  attributes

 This paper/ study/ investigation  proves  illustrates
 advances (the idea that)

To explain how research  offers  ushers in

contributes to the existing  introduces  proffers
 This paper/ study/ investigation  conveys
 promotes
 advocates
 introduces
 broach (issue)
 reveals
 unveils
 exposes
 unearths