Best Active Verbs for Research Papers with Examples
What are active verbs?
Active verbs, often referred to as "action verbs," depict activities, processes, or occurrences. They energize sentences by illustrating direct actions, like "run," "write," or "discover." In contrast, linking verbs connect the subject of a sentence to its complement, offering information about the subject rather than denoting an action. The most common linking verb is the "be" verb (am, is, are, was, were, etc.), which often describes a state of being. While active verbs demonstrate direct activity or motion, linking and "be" verbs serve as bridges, revealing relations or states rather than actions.
While linking verbs are necessary to states facts or show connections between two or more items, subjects, or ideas, active verbs usually have a more specific meaning that can explain these connections and actions with greater accuracy. And they captivate the reader’s attention! (See what I did there?)
Why are active verbs important to use in research papers?
Using active verbs in academic papers enhances clarity and precision, propelling the narrative forward and making your arguments more compelling. Active verbs provide clear agents of action, making your assertions clearer and more vigorous. This dynamism ensures readers grasp the research's core points and its implications.
For example, using an active vs passive voice sentence can create more immediate connection and clarity for the reader. Instead of writing "The experiment was conducted by the team," one could write, "The team conducted the experiment."
Similarly, rather than stating "Results were analyzed," a more direct approach would be "We analyzed the results." Such usage not only shortens sentences but also centers the focus, making the statements about the research more robust and persuasive.
Best Active Verbs for Academic & Research Papers
When writing research papers, choose active verbs that clarify and energize writing: the Introduction section "presents" a hypothesis, the Methods section "describes" your study procedures, the Results section "shows" the findings, and the Discussion section "argues" the wider implications. Active language makes each section more direct and engaging, effectively guiding readers through the study's journey—from initial inquiry to final conclusions—while highlighting the researcher's active role in the scholarly exploration.
Active verbs to introduce a research topic
Using active verbs in the Introduction section of a research paper sets a strong foundation for the study, indicating the actions taken by researchers and the direction of their inquiry.
Stresses a key stance or finding, especially when referring to published literature.
Indicates a thorough investigation into a research topic.
Draws attention to important aspects or details of the study topic you are addressing.
Questions or disputes established theories or beliefs, especially in previous published studies.
Highlights and describes a point of interest or importance.
Inspects or scrutinizes a subject closely.
Sets up the context or background for the study.
Clearly expresses an idea or theory. Useful when setting up a research problem statement.
Makes something clear by explaining it in more detail.
Active verbs to describe your study approach
Each of these verbs indicates a specific, targeted action taken by researchers to advance understanding of their study's topic, laying out the groundwork in the Introduction for what the study aims to accomplish and how.
Suggests a theory, idea, or method for consideration.
Implies a methodical examination of the subject.
Indicates a careful evaluation or estimation of a concept.
Suggests a definitive or conclusive finding or result.
Indicates the measurement or expression of an element in numerical terms.
Active verbs to describe study methods
The following verbs express a specific action in the methodology of a research study, detailing how researchers execute their investigations and handle data to derive meaningful conclusions.
Implies carrying out a planned process or experiment. Often used to refer to methods in other studies the literature review section.
Suggests putting a plan or technique into action.
Indicates the use of tools, techniques, or information for a specific purpose.
Denotes the determination of the quantity, degree, or capacity of something.
Refers to the systematic gathering of data or samples.
Involves examining data or details methodically to uncover relationships, patterns, or insights.
Active verbs for a hypothesis or problem statement
Each of the following verbs initiates a hypothesis or statement of the problem, indicating different levels of certainty and foundations of reasoning, which the research then aims to explore, support, or refute.
Suggests a hypothesis or a theory based on limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.
Proposes a statement or hypothesis that is assumed to be true, and from which a conclusion can be drawn.
Attempts to identify
Conveys an explicit effort to identify or isolate a specific element or relationship in the study.
Foretells a future event or outcome based on a theory or observation.
Theorizes or puts forward a consideration about a subject without firm evidence.
Proposes an idea or possibility based on indirect or incomplete evidence.
Active verbs used to interpret and explain study results
In the Discussion section, the findings of your study are interpreted and explained to the reader before moving on to study implications and limitations. These verbs communicate the outcomes of the research in a precise and assertive manner, conveying how the data aligns with the expectations and hypotheses laid out earlier in the paper.
Shows or unveils findings from the data.
Clearly shows the result of an experiment or study, often implying evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship.
Shows or presentes a particular result or trend.
Provides evidence in favor of a theory or hypothesis.
Establishes the truth or validity of an anticipated outcome or theory.
Visually presents data, often implying the use of figures or tables.
Active verbs to discuss study implications
In the discussion of study implications, these verbs help to weave the results into a broader context, suggesting relevance, highlighting importance, and pointing out potential consequences within the respective field of research.
Proposes a possible interpretation or implication without making a definitive statement.
Points to broader consequences or significances hinted at by the results.
Indicates a logical consequence or a meaning that is not explicitly stated.
Strengthens the validity or importance of a concept or finding.
Emphasizes certain findings and their broader ramifications.
Underlines or emphasizes the significance or seriousness of an implication.
Active verbs to discuss study limitations
Discussing study limitations with these verbs allows researchers to maintain transparency about their study's weaknesses, thus providing a clearer picture of the context and reliability of the research findings.
Recognizes the existence of potential weaknesses or restrictions in the study.
Directly confronts a specific limitation and often discusses ways it has been mitigated.
Makes an observation of a limitation that could affect the interpretation of the results.
Reflects on or thinks about a limitation in the context of the study's impact or scope.
Points out and describes a specific limitation.
Makes known or reveals a limitation that could have an effect on the study's conclusions.
Active verbs for the Conclusion section
In the Conclusion section, these verbs are pivotal in crystallizing the core findings, implications, and the future trajectory of research initiated by the study.
Signifies drawing a final inference or judgement based on the results.
Provides a brief statement of the main points of the research findings.
States positively or asserts the validity of the findings.
Advises on a course of action based on the results obtained.
Highlights the importance or significance of the research outcomes.
Use an AI Grammar Checker to Correct Your Research Verbs
While lists like these will certainly help you improve your writing in any academic paper, it can still be a good idea to revise your paper using an AI writing assistant during the drafting process, and with professional editing services before submitting your work to journals.
Wordvice’s AI Proofreading Tool, AI Paraphrasing Tool, AI Summarizer, and AI Translator are ideal for enhancing your academic papers. And with our professional editing services, including academic proofreading and paper editing services, you get high-quality English editing from experts in your paper’s subject area.