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Reporting words

The following section lists some useful expressions for critically presenting other writers' ideas.

Reporting verbs or expressions are used to report on what other authors have done: whether they have made claims, argued a case, established findings, drawn conclusions, etc. Note the differences in these verbs: your choice of word will reveal to your reader your attitude toward the status of the author's theories/research; it will also indicate whether or not you consider her/his claims to be substantiated.

Assign the following reporting words to the most appropriate category:

Reporting verb Answer Categories
Account for

Note: In the following, "author" indicates the source (not "you as the writer").

Group 1 Author's argument (author making a point to develop or justify his/her argument)

Group 2 Author's emphasis (author drawing reader's attention to a particular point)

Group 3 Author's references to other authors (author positioning him/herself against other authors)

Group 4 Author's omissions (author not fully arguing a point)

Group 5 Author's admissions (author conceding a point of potential weakness)

Acknowledge
Argue
Assume
Challenge
Claim
Contend
Dispute
Draw attention to
Emphasise
Establish
Find
Focus on
Hold the view
Insist
Maintain
Note
Observe
Point out
Propose
Prove
Recognise
Recommend
Reiterate
Reject
Remark
Stress
Suggest
Support
Take for granted
Underline

Indicating your own position

There are a number of ways of indicating your position in relation to previous research. The following is a sample of the kinds of evaluative expressions which may be used to indicate your own views of the authors you cite.

The research:

  • disregarded X
  • neglected to consider X
  • overlooked X
  • underestimated X
  • has been limited to X
  • overestimated X
  • suffered from X
  • requires excessive amounts of (time/storage, etc)
  • has taken no account of X.

Which of the following adjectives have you seen used in your discipline - and in what way? Some may have positive OR negative connotations depending on the discipline and what it values.

The research/theory is:

  • incomplete
  • efficient
  • questionable
  • useful
  • simple
  • reliable
  • too general
  • robust
  • inconclusive
  • unsatisfactory
  • comprehensive
  • complex
  • over-simplified
  • cumbersome

You can expand your repertoire of evaluative expressions by reading articles or other theses attentively.

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