A Glossary For Research Reports

October 18, 2014 | 2 comments


It is time for another installment of the copycat series, where I shamelessly copy posts someone else wrote, because he or she said it better than I ever could.

This articles was originally written by CD Graham and published in 1957 in Metal Progress, but it has been circulating the internet (and been somewhat modified) in the last ten years or so.

Here is A glossary for research reports (aka a guide to translating scientific papers into plain English):

It has long been known that I haven’t bothered to look up the original reference
Of great theoretical and practical importance Interesting to me
While it has not been possible to provide definite answers to these questions The experiments didn’t work out, but I figured I could at least get a publication out of it
The W-Pb system was chosen as especially suitable to show the predicted behaviour The fellow in the next lab had some already made up
High-purity / Very high purity / Extremely high purity / Super-purity / Spectroscopically pure Composition unknown except for the exaggerated claims of the supplier
A fiducial reference line A scratch
Three of the samples were chosen for detailed study The results on the others didn’t make sense and were ignored
Accidentally strained during mounting Dropped on the floor
Handled with extreme care throughout the experiments Not dropped on the floor
Typical results are shown The best results are shown
Although some detail has been lost in reproduction, it is clear from the original micrograph that It is impossible to tell from the micrograph
Presumably at longer times I didn’t take time to find out
The agreement with the predicted curve is excellent Fair
Good Poor
Satisfactory Doubtful
Fair Imaginary
As good as could be expected Non-existent
These results will be reported at a later date I might possibly get around to this sometime
The most reliable values are those of Jones He was a student of mine
It is suggested that / It is believed that / It may be that I think
It is generally believed that A couple of other guys think so too
It might be argued that I have such a good answer to this objection that I shall now raise it
It is clear that much additional work will be required before a complete understanding I don’t understand it
Unfortunately, a quantitative theory to account for these effects has not been formulated Neither does anybody else
Correct within an order of magnitude Wrong
It is to be hoped that this work will stimulate further work in the field This paper isn’t very good, but neither are any of the others in this miserable subject
Thanks are due to Joe Glotz for assistance with the experiments and to John Doe for valuable discussions Glotz did the work and Doe explained what it meant
Some more recent additions:
A definite trend is evident The data is practically meaningless
While it has not been possible to provide definite answers to the questions An unsuccessful experiment, but I still hope to get it published
A carefull analysis of obtained data Three pages of notes were obliterated when I knocked over a glass of beer
After additional study by my colleagues They didn’t understand it, either
A highly significant area for exploratory study A totally useless topic selected by my committee
In my experience Once
In case after case Twice
In a series of cases Three times
According to statistical analysis Rumor has it
A statistically-oriented projection of the significance of these findings A wild guess
It is hope that this study will stimulate further investigations in this field I quit
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