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common uncountable nouns in academic writing

Can you identify which sentences below have incorrect usage of the word research?

1 The scholar did a research project on the attitudes of Czech citizens towards the media. 

2 The literature review will provide an overview of previous research on this topic. 

3 While specific studies on the impact of terrorism on GDP have been conducted in various countries, a research has not yet been done on Syria. 

4 To date there has been little research on the impact of the trade war on farmers.

5 Although a comprehensive research has been done, the reasons why people under the age of 30 are so risk averse are still unclear.

The following sentences are incorrect since research is an uncountable noun:

3 While specific studies on the impact of terrorism on GDP have been conducted in various countries, research has not yet been done on Syria. (A research is not possible.)

5 Although comprehensive research has been done, the reasons why people under the age of 30 are so risk averse are still unclear. (A comprehensive research is not possible. It is possible to say for example, a comprehensive research study, a comprehensive research project, or a comprehensive amount of research.)

Uncountable nouns used frequently in academic writing include: 

research According to the Oxford English dictionary, researches is possible but it is rare, thus I advise not using it as someone reading your writing may think it is incorrect.

information

data

These words follow the usual rules for uncountable nouns

1 S is not used.

Be careful as some of these words are pluralized in Czech. When speaking about an individual quantity or more than one quantity, expressions such as a little, some or a (specific measure of) are used. I tell my students this is similar usage to beer, i.e. some beer, little beer, a lot of beer etc. 

Incorrect: There are many informations available on this topic. 

Correct:  There is a lot of information available on this topic. 

There is extensive information available on this topic. 

2 A/an are not used.

Incorrect: The student did a research on French attitudes towards immigration. 

Correct: The student did research on French attitudes towards immigration.

The student did a research study on French attitudes towards immigration.

3 The can be used when referring to a specific example.

Incorrect: The informations the researchers were able to obtain from government sources were very limited. 

Correct: The information the researchers were able to obtain from government sources was very limited.

Some information in this post came from Cambridge Dictionary and Oxford Dictionary

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Pamela Cotte

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