Wordvice AI Blog

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.

Example  Previous studies have asserted the critical role of neural pathways in memory formation (Richards, Kim, et al.).


Indicates a thorough investigation into a research topic.

Example  The study explores the relationship between sleep quality and cognitive performance.


Draws attention to important aspects or details of the study topic you are addressing.

Example  The paper highlights the disparity in access to healthcare in rural versus urban areas.


Questions or disputes established theories or beliefs, especially in previous published studies.

Example  The analysis challenges the conventional wisdom that economic growth leads to environmental degradation.


Highlights and describes a point of interest or importance.

Example  The investigation identifies key factors that influence voter turnout in local elections.


Inspects or scrutinizes a subject closely.

Example  This paper examines the effects of social media on adolescent communication skills.


Sets up the context or background for the study.

Example  The introduction frames the debate on climate change within the broader context of sustainable development.


Clearly expresses an idea or theory. Useful when setting up a research problem statement.

Example  This article articulates a new perspective on the historical impact of trade networks.


Makes something clear by explaining it in more detail.

Example  The introductory section elucidates the principles behind the proposed tax reform and its expected impact on the economy.

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.

Example  The model proposes a novel mechanism for the regulation of gene expression.


Implies a methodical examination of the subject.

Example  The current study investigates the impact of bilingual education on cognitive flexibility among children.


Indicates a careful evaluation or estimation of a concept.

Example  This research assesses the viability of renewable energy sources to meet growing urban demands.


Suggests a definitive or conclusive finding or result.

Example  The project determines the correlation between social media use and attention spans in teenagers.


Indicates the measurement or expression of an element in numerical terms.

Example  The experiment quantifies the reduction in air pollutant levels following the implementation of the new emissions policy.

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.

Example  The team conducted a series of controlled experiments to isolate the chemical reaction mechanism.


Suggests putting a plan or technique into action.

Example  The study implements a longitudinal design to track changes over time.


Indicates the use of tools, techniques, or information for a specific purpose.

Example  Our analysis utilizes a multi-variate regression model to interpret the data.


Denotes the determination of the quantity, degree, or capacity of something.

Example  Our team’s research measured the response time of participants using a standardized test.


Refers to the systematic gathering of data or samples.

Example  The survey collected data from over two thousand respondents to ensure statistical significance.


Involves examining data or details methodically to uncover relationships, patterns, or insights.

Example  The paper analyzes the genetic sequences using bioinformatics tools to identify mutations.

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.

Example  The study posits that increased cell phone usage negatively influences adolescents' sleep patterns.


Proposes a statement or hypothesis that is assumed to be true, and from which a conclusion can be drawn.

Example  Based on the observed data, the research postulates a direct correlation between air pollution levels and respiratory diseases.

Attempts to identify

Conveys an explicit effort to identify or isolate a specific element or relationship in the study.

Example  This study attempts to identify the root causes of mange in wild African wildabeasts of Sudan.


Foretells a future event or outcome based on a theory or observation.

Example  The model predicts a 15% increase in energy efficiency with the application of the new insulating material.


Theorizes or puts forward a consideration about a subject without firm evidence.

Example  The paper speculates that the decline in honeybee populations is linked to changes in agricultural practices.


Proposes an idea or possibility based on indirect or incomplete evidence.

Example  The data suggests a potential link between screen time and decreased concentration in young adults.

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.

Example  The analysis reveals a significant increase in voter turnout after the policy change.


Clearly shows the result of an experiment or study, often implying evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship.

Example  The data demonstrates that the new drug effectively lowers blood pressure without additional side effects.


Shows or presentes a particular result or trend.

Example  The temperature measurements illustrate the consistent warming trend over the past decade.


Provides evidence in favor of a theory or hypothesis.

Example  The experiment supports the hypothesis that the modified diet accelerates growth in juvenile fish.


Establishes the truth or validity of an anticipated outcome or theory.

Example  The findings confirm the predicted impact of UV radiation on the degradation of the polymer.


Visually presents data, often implying the use of figures or tables.

Example  The graph displays a clear correlation between the variables, as predicted by the model.

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.

Example  The study suggests that early intervention can mitigate the effects of dyslexia in young children.


Points to broader consequences or significances hinted at by the results.

Example  The reduction in pollution levels indicates potential health benefits for urban populations.


Indicates a logical consequence or a meaning that is not explicitly stated.

Example  The decrease in genetic diversity implies increased vulnerability to disease outbreaks in the population.


Strengthens the validity or importance of a concept or finding.

Example  The positive outcomes reinforce the need for more comprehensive workplace training programs.


Emphasizes certain findings and their broader ramifications.

Example  The research highlights the importance of sustainable farming practices in preserving biodiversity.


Underlines or emphasizes the significance or seriousness of an implication.

Example  The correlation between sedentary lifestyles and cardiovascular diseases underscores the urgency for public health interventions.

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.

Example  The study acknowledges the limited sample size as a constraint on the generalizability of the results.


Directly confronts a specific limitation and often discusses ways it has been mitigated.

Example  The research addresses the potential bias introduced by self-reporting through the use of corroborating behavioral data.


Makes an observation of a limitation that could affect the interpretation of the results.

Example  The author notes the absence of longitudinal data to track changes over time as a limitation.


Reflects on or thinks about a limitation in the context of the study's impact or scope.

Example  The paper considers the heterogeneity of the population as a factor that might have influenced the study's outcome.


Points out and describes a specific limitation.

Example  The methodology section identifies the non-random sampling technique as a limitation to the study's claim to external validity.


Makes known or reveals a limitation that could have an effect on the study's conclusions.

Example  The study discloses the potential for measurement error due to the subjective nature of the observational techniques used.

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.

Example  The study concludes that the intervention was effective in reducing symptoms of the disorder.


Provides a brief statement of the main points of the research findings.

Example  The conclusion summarizes the pivotal role of community support in managing urban sustainability initiatives.


States positively or asserts the validity of the findings.

Example  The evidence affirmatively supports the hypothesized link between increased physical activity and decreased anxiety levels.


Advises on a course of action based on the results obtained.

Example  Based on the findings, the paper recommends the adoption of more stringent air quality regulations.


Highlights the importance or significance of the research outcomes.

Example  The conclusion emphasizes the need for further research into the genetic markers for the disease.

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, AI Translator, AI Grammar Checker, AI Plagiarism Checker, and AI Detector 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.