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Hi,

I've written the following sentence for a research paper.

The use of qualitative research has therefore been considered to be necessary in order to obtain information from X, who are the only ones able to add extra information about Y.

but the more I read it, the more I find the underlined part awkward (or is it ungrammatical?).
Any suggestions on possible amendments?

Thank you!
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Comments  
TanitThe use of qualitative research has therefore been considered to be necessary in order to obtain information from X, who are the only ones able to add extra information about Y.
It's a bit long winded but seems ok to me.
Could be substituted with "is".

Redundant.
It's not clear if "X" is singular or plural. Needs to concord with the number of the verb "to be" in the subordinate clause.
Other possible choices:

who are the only ones that can add extra information
who are the only ones that could add extra information
who are the only ones that are able to add extra information
The use of qualitative research is necessary to obtain information from X, who are the only ones that could add extra information about Y.
Thanks for you help, Huevos.

X is plural.

As for the replacement of "...has therefore been considered to be necessary [in order] to ..." with " ... is necessary [in order] to...", I think they differ.
I see the first one as an instance of cautious language - typically used when justifying assumptions and decisions in academic writing - and the second as an objective statement.

Can I really proof that qualitative research - and especially the methodology I've chosen - is necessary? This kind of choice is often subjective, and much of an academic piece of writing consists in demonstrating that you've chosen the right path to tackle a certain research question.

Still, if it's too wordy, I'd be glad to know how I could rephrase it retaining caution and a bit of uncertainty.

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TanitThis kind of choice is often subjective, and much of an academic piece of writing consists in demonstrating that you've chosen the right path to tackle a certain research question.
Hi Tanit,
I see it like this, all the text says is this: "Research [therefore] necessary to obtain information from X". Any more words are just style. If that makes the text more interesting to academics so be it but it does not convey any more information.
TanitI'd be glad to know how I could rephrase it retaining caution and a bit of uncertainty.
I think the "uncertainty" is the thing I dont like. It's synonymous of weasel words . My personal opinion is adding "it has therefore been considered to be" is a failed attempt to give an already weak passive voice statement more weight. If I were an "academic" reading it my first reaction would be "according to who?".
Hi Huevos,

Thanks for your answer, and thanks also for the link. I had never heard of "weasel word", so I've just learnt something new! Emotion: smile

Here's a sentence that struck me in that page from Wikipedia:
Weasel words are usually expressed with deliberate imprecision with the intention to mislead the listeners or readers into believing statements for which sources are not readily available.
Obviously, there's no intention to mislead the readers on my part. At the same time, though, I cannot be (and cannot pretend to be) 100% sure that only a qualitative piece of research can answer the question, so there's undoubtedly deliberate imprecision.

Now, let me try to express (if my limited English allows me to do it) what I am (unsuccessfully) trying to communicate.
HuevosIf I were an "academic" reading it my first reaction would be "according to who?".
According to me, the writer! Emotion: smile [Just kidding, I know I shouldn't write "according to me"]

For a series of reasons which precede that statement ("therefore" refers back to these reasons), to answer the research question I have judged necessary to interview some people. On the other hand, I was taught that in this type of writing it's better not to be "blunt/arrogant" and to avoid writing "I" or "we", and that's why the sentence is in the passive.

Can you possibly think of a way to improve this failed attempt of mine while taking into account all these constraints? That would be great! Emotion: smile

Thanks again for your patience.
It seems to me that you are trying to establish the following:
You need additional information about Y.
Only X has the information you need.
If you don't use qualitative research, X will not release information about Y.
Therefore, you have to use qualitative research.
___

These may be completely contrary to what you're trying to say, but here are some possible rewrites:
The use of qualitative research has therefore been considered necessary in order to obtain information from X, without whom additional information about Y is unavailable.
The use of qualitative research has therefore been considered necessary in order to obtain information from X, the sole source of additional information about Y.
CJ
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CalifJimIt seems to me that you are trying to establish the following:
You need additional information about Y.
Only X has the information you need.
If you don't use qualitative research, X will not release information about Y.
Therefore, you have to use qualitative research.

Yep! You got it perfectly. I wonder why I am unable to put things that simply (or to make things seem so simple). Emotion: smile

May I also ask you what's your opinion about "has therefore been considered", which you have retained in your versions? Do you feel it's too vague/weak/misleading?

Thank you very much for your suggestions!
Tanit what's your opinion about "has therefore been considered", which you have retained in your versions?
Your question was about rephrasing the last part of the sentence, so I actually didn't form much of an opinion about that first part. Whether it's vague or weak depends on the tone and style of the entire article, so I don't feel there's enough there to form an opinion about. I leave it to the author of the article to make those decisions! Emotion: smile
TanitI wonder why I am unable to put things that simply
It's no great accomplishment to outline the basics of the argument. The hard part is the part you're attempting -- how to put all that information into a nicely flowing sentence or two without making it a clunky recital of the underlying syllogisms that I came up with. Emotion: smile
CJ
CalifJimI leave it to the author of the article to make those decisions!
Fair enough!
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