Brown (2009, p. 36)
says that …
This page explains how to choose and use reporting verbs effectively:
- Use the correct tense for reporting verbs
- Use reporting verbs to incorporate the ideas of others correctly
- Use grammatically correct verbs to match your intended meaning
Mostly, students are encouraged to use present tense to report findings from literature. Past tense is mainly used to report findings from personal research or to refer to information that was once true, but is no longer valid. This can vary, however, according to subject areas (e.g. Past tense is mainly used in the Sciences and Psychology). Always refer to your subject guides for advice on appropriate style.
In her study on Internet privacy, Johnson (2005, p.197) concludes that a person can be identified by name on the Internet using age and address details./glossary_exclude]
Previous studies on Internet usage throughout the 1990s ignored the notion of Internet security and focused mainly on the benefits of accessing information via the Internet (Black, 2013, p. 39).
In their study on suburban Internet usage, Smith et al. (2012, pp. 34-126) demonstrated that 90% of 2000 surveyed participants were concerned about violations of their privacy.
Use reporting verbs correctly to incorporate the ideas of others
When you are going to support your argument with a paraphrase or a direct quotation from another writer, you must avoid just ‘dropping in’ the information. Instead, use a reporting verb (or signal phrase) to prepare your reader that you are using information obtained from another author.
The right to privacy of Internet users has been challenged as the use of the WWW spreads at an exponential rate throughout the world. Governments are now passing acts to support consumer rights to privacy. “
Organisations are required to safeguard personal information they hold from unauthorised access and disclosure”. (Commonwealth of Australia, 2002).
The right to privacy of Internet users has been challenged as the use of the WWW spreads at an exponential rate throughout the world. Governments are now passing acts to support consumer rights to privacy. The Commonwealth of Australia (2002, p. 21) have established legislation that clearly states that “organisations are required to safeguard personal information they hold from unauthorised access and disclosure”. As a result, companies are forced to consider ways of ensuring that they have adequate data security to protect the privacy of their customers.
Use reporting verbs and signal phrases to integrate paraphrases, summaries and direct quotations into your own writing.
There are many examples of reporting verbs from which you can choose. It is important that you think very carefully about the meaning you wish to convey as your choice of reporting words will indicate to the reader your stance on the information that you are discussing. Moreover, your use of signal verbs and phrases will influence your reader’s/marker’s interpretation of your work so that he/she is more likely to agree with the conclusions you have reached in your essay.
Smith et al. reject the proposal that . . .
is a far stronger indication of your claims than
Smith et al. discuss the proposal that . . .
Take care to construct grammatically correct sentences when you incorporate paraphrases, summaries and direct quotations into your writing. The following verbs are written in singular form and present tense, so you will need to modify these words to suit the grammar of your sentences:
REPORTING VERB + THAT + MAIN IDEA
Peterson et al. (2013, para. 36) acknowledge that Internet privacy is a growing issue in the modern world of communication.
Examples of verbs suitable to be used in this way
accepts, acknowledges, adds, admits, advises, announces, agrees, alleges, argues, asserts, assumes, believes, claims, comments, complains, concedes, concludes, confirms, considers, contends, decides, declares, denies (deny), determines, discovers, doubts, emphasises, estimates, explains, feels, finds, guarantees, holds, hypothesises, knows, implies (imply), indicates, infers, insists, maintains, mentions, notes, observes, objects, points out, postulates, predicts, professes, promises, proposes, proves, reasons, realises, recommends, remarks, reports, requests, restates, reveals, says, shows, states, stresses, suggests, thinks, theorises, understands, verifies (verify), warns
|Grammar alert: some reporting verbs cannot be followed immediately by ‘that’.|
REPORTING VERB + SOMETHING + CONNECTING WORD
Jackson (2012, pp. 23-38) refutes the claim made by Smith that …
Studies by Campbell (2005, 2008) highlight the disadvantages in terms of …
Research by Smith et al. (2006, para. 36) validates the argument that …
These findings illustrate the importance of Internet privacy as … (Brown, 2007; Jackson, 2011)
Brown and Peters (2013, pp. 3-5) describe Johnson’s findings as ‘disturbing’ …
Jackson and Peters (2013, p. 35) applaud the Green Party for their stance on …
Cleary (2009, para. 6) advocates for the rights of Internet users because …
Joseph et al. (2010, p. 6) question all previous research on the subject in terms of …
TechTimes (2013, p. 73) discusses the reasons behind the increase in Internet bullying by …
Examples of verbs suitable to be used in this way
advocates (for), alerts, analyses, appraises, applauds, assesses, assures, blames, challenges, characterises, congratulates, classifies (classify), criticises, defines, demonstrates, defends, describes, discusses, depicts, encourages, endorses, evaluates, examines, expresses, faults, identifies (identify), illustrates, interprets, investigates, objects (to), portrays, praises, presents, puts forward, questions, refers, refutes, rejects, studies (study), substantiates, supports, takes issue with, throws light on, validates, verifies (verify), views