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A Dictionary of Useful Research Phrases

This is the popular tool for reading research papers seen tacked up in offices, labs, and above copying machines everywhere. It has been reported to me that it originally appeared in a scientific journal article,

Graham, Jr., C. D.,
Metal Progress
Volume 71, Number 5
May, 1957

A Dictionary of Useful Research Phrases

Research Phrase Translation
It has long been known... I didn't look up the original reference.
A definite trend is evident... These data are are practically meaningless.
Of great theoretical and practical importance... Interesting to me.
Extremely high purity Composition unknown except for the exaggerated claims of the supplier.
While it has not been possible to provide definite answers to these questions... An unsuccessful experiment, but I still hope to get it published.
Three of the samples were chosen for detailed study... The results of the others didn't make any sense.
Accidentally stained during mounting Accidentally dropped on the floor.
Handled with extreme care during the experiments Not dropped on the floor.
A fiducial reference line on the specimen A scratch.
Although some detail have been lost in reproduction, it is clear from the original micrograph that... It is impossible to tell from the original micrograph.
Typical results are shown... The best results are shown.
These results will be shown in a subsequent report... I might get around to this sometime if I'm pushed.
The most reliable results are those obtained by Jones... He was my graduate assistant.
It is believed that... I think.
It is generally believed that... A couple of other people think so too.
It might be argued that... I have such a good answer for this objection that I shall now raise it.
It is clear that much additional work will be required before a complete understanding of the phenomenon occurs... I don't understand it.
Agreement with the predicted curve is excellent. Fair.
...good. Poor.
...satisfactory. Doubtful.
...fair. Imaginary.
Correct within an order of magnitude... Wrong.
It is hoped that this study will stimulate further investigation in this field... This is a lousy paper, but so are all the others on this miserable topic.
Thanks are due to Joe Blotz for assistance with the experiment and to George Frink for valuable discussions... Blotz did the work and Frink explained to me what it meant.
A careful analysis of obtainable data... Three pages of notes were obliterated when I knocked over a glass of beer.

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Toni Cornelissen
7 juni 2007
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