research or researches

nanbanjin

Member
Barcelona: EU-Spanish & Catalan
I am helping a Chinese classmate write a proposal for a conference and I've noticed she uses the word "researches" as a synonim for "research papers". It sounds really odd to me, but since I am not a native speaker either, I thought I'd ask here.
Do you feel there is something wrong with a sentence like this?
"Very few researches have noted the role this plays in shaping power relations."
If you do, what would be an appropiate alternative?
 
  • GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    "Research" is not a synonym for "research papers", and when used as a noun it is usually thought of as uncountable:

    There has been much research about this illness.:tick:
    There has been a research about this illness.:cross:
    There have been several researches about this illness.:cross:

    I think your friend's usage would certainly seem odd to native speakers, and most would consider it incorrect.
     

    tphuong122002

    Senior Member
    Vietnamese Vietnam
    I am helping a Chinese classmate write a proposal for a conference and I've noticed she uses the word "researches" as a synonim for "research papers". It sounds really odd to me, but since I am not a native speaker either, I thought I'd ask here.
    Do you feel there is something wrong with a sentence like this?
    "Very few researches have noted the role this plays in shaping power relations."
    If you do, what would be an appropiate alternative?
    In your sentence, researches should be replaced by studies: "Very few studies have noted the role this plays in shaping power relations."
     

    cfu507

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    Which one is preferable or more correct:
    1. Most research done to date has focused on...
    2. Most researches done to date have focused on...

    Thank you

     

    Not being

    Senior Member
    Vietnam
    I am sorry, but can you explain why research cannot be plural?
    I've carried a research in class and at the end all of us hand our researches to the teacher.

    The results found here validate "many researches".
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    All I am saying is that I would never say "researches". Some on-line resources believe that "researches" is acceptable, while others say that "research" is uncountable and therefore incapable of taking the plural ending. My usage coincides with the latter.
     

    Oros

    Senior Member
    Korean
    His researches in the field of surface chemistry paved the way to receive 2007 Nobel prize in chemistry. He is a German chemist.
    [ You can say researches.]
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    Well, I am not sure, and I don't like to give answers here when I am not sure.

    According to the dictionary, "research" is an uncountable noun, and then it states that "researches=research", that's why I said I don't know.

    There are many language learners here, I would like to be responsible for what I say, if you don't mind.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I'm a native speaker of English and to me researches [n.pl.] is categorically wrong: I just can't imagine ever using it when research itself is already sort-of-plural.
    Which are learners of English to believe? ~ the gut instincts of native speakers? or the pronouncements of online language 'resources'?
    Answers on a postcard please to the usual address.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I looked at the link in post 3 and the early sources all seem to be written by foreigners - the first by a Japanese, who acknowledged his weak grasp of English, so we shouldn't take them as very authoritative, perhaps.

    It's interesting that the dictionary says researches = research, almost apologising for its own entry.

    I'm with the other BE speakers here. I'd regard someone who talked about researches as probably having a poor grasp of the language.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I am sorry, but can you explain why research cannot be plural?
    I've carried a research in class and at the end all of us hand our researches to the teacher.

    The results found here validate "many researches".
    We all carried out research in class and at the end we each handed our research in to the teacher.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    We'd also quite happily talk about pieces of research, and they are countable. Having said all this, I've suddenly thought that we could say: my researches have shown that... We couldn't then say 'how many researches have you made?'. Such researches are not countable and are directly equivalent to research. I can see what that dictionary meant, at last. So I take back that last sentence of my post 21.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    ... a native speaker of English and to me researches [n.pl.] is categorically wrong: I just can't imagine ever using it when research itself is already sort-of-plural.
    Research may be used as a countable or an uncountable noun.
    Both are well-established usage - in BE at least.
    Here are the relevant definitions from the OED.
    A search or investigation directed to the discovery of some fact by careful consideration or study of a subject; a course of critical or scientific inquiry. (Usually in plural.)
    Without article: Investigation, inquiry into things. Also, as a quality of persons, habitude of carrying out such investigation.
    There can be no doubt about the "correctness" of researches.

    There is, however, the question of whether researches would be correctly used in the example sentence. To my mind, the answer is no. Researches, to me, carries a sense of multiple research activities. In the example sentence it seems that we are talking about a known field of research.
    Which are learners of English to believe? ~ the gut instincts of native speakers? or the pronouncements of online language 'resources'?
    Popping on my moderator's hat for a moment.
    As has been pointed out, this thread contains a great deal of conflicting opinion and little objective information. I should remind everyone that Any information, translations and definitions posted in these forums must be accompanied by a reasonable attempt to verify accuracy.
    Especially when opinions differ markedly, it behoves all of us to do some research before posting.
    Hat removed.
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Popping on my moderator's hat for a moment.
    As has been pointed out, this thread contains a great deal of conflicting opinion and little objective information. I should remind everyone that Any information, translations and definitions posted in these forums must be accompanied by a reasonable attempt to verify accuracy.
    Especially when opinions differ markedly, it behoves all of us to do some research before posting.
    Hat removed.
    Are you saying then that it is not enough for us to say "This is my personal usage"? Have we got to find an on-line source that supports us each time? When opinions differ, what constitutes the "objective information" that you wish to see?
     

    Vinlander

    Senior Member
    Canada, American English (mostly)
    The OED definition is:
    2. a. A search or investigation directed to the discovery of some fact by careful consideration or study of a subject; a course of critical or scientific inquiry. (Usu. in pl.)
    There are examples in the OED of "researches" but none are more recent than 75 years ago. You can use "researches" but to my ear (and I deal with research and researchers) it sounds either dated, at best, or indicative of a non-native speaker. There are cases I can think of where it might sound less odd, but in all of those "research" would at very least sound as right.

    One can use "researches", one would be understood, but it would, in my mind, sound like one was either, at least, somewhat unfamiliar with research or with English.

    Vinlander
     

    Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    Are you saying then that it is not enough for us to say "This is my personal usage"? Have we got to find an on-line source that supports us each time? When opinions differ, what constitutes the "objective information" that you wish to see?
    I support Sound Shift in this, and also Ewie's point in post #13 about 'gut feeling'. I consider it valid (and indeed valuable) to learners to have a beyond-the-dictionary comment on their queries from native speakers, just as long as the personal nature of the comments is made clear. Also, as has been pointed out, all internet sources should be taken with a pinch of salt. I would add that even the best dictionaries soon become out of date, and they sometimes fail to take account of 'correct' regional variations.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Personal usage examples are fine when it is clear that it is personal.
    This thread, and a few others around at the time, included some very absolute comments that would have been better expressed with more restraint.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    "Research" is uncountable, so 1.) is correct and 2.) is incorrect.
    I'm undecided on this issue because:
    1. Oxford Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary, and Longman Dictionary all say that "researches" is correct. ("Also researches" are printed in all 3 dictionaries.")
    2. Macmillan Dictionary says "researches" is wrong and unacceptable.


    Why is there such a divide between major dictionaries?
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    How do you want to use the word, Edison?

    My view is that it's usually uncountable, but can be used in the plural in certain limited circumstances.

    It's not for us to explain conflicting behaviour between dictionaries.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    There are examples in the OED of "researches" but none are more recent than 75 years ago.
    The entry must have been updated:The OED now gives research as

    (a) As a mass noun.

    1956 Nature 15 Sept. 562/2 There seems to have been a regrettable lack of research on nubility in women[1].
    1961 Sheboygan (Wisconsin) Press 3 Mar. 4/2 He has engaged in extensive research on Hopkins and is an authority on the English priest-poet.
    1998 Independent 24 Nov. ii. 13/2 New research on the effects of exercise has found that there are hidden dangers in having too much of it.

    (b) As a count noun. Freq. in pl.

    1955 Times 7 May 9/6 Could the G.P.O. be persuaded to undertake an operational research into the use of Post Offices?
    1990 M. Roberts In Red Kitchen (1991) 63 Having terminated my researches on Mr Home, I have not exhausted my interest in the subject of spiritualism.
    2002 D. Freedberg Eve of Lynx iii. xi. 344 His researches on the fossil woods led him to researches on other fossils.

    Both have pedigrees back to the 17th century.

    However, the OP’s problem was that his colleague was using “researches” to mean “research papers”, which is clearly wrong.


    [1] Am I too late to apply? :D
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I guess the safe thing to do is to stick with the singular form. No one denies the correctness of "research", but "researches" is regarded as wrong by at least some people. :D
     

    Paul Gibson

    New Member
    English
    The word "research" is:
    a) uncountable
    b) a plural noun - A plural noun is a word that indicates that there is more than one person, animal place, thing, or idea.

    The plural form of "research" is "studies", NOT researches.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    The plural form of "research" is "studies", NOT researches.
    Well, that is manifestly untrue - as illustrated in post 30. This thread started with a misuse of the word "researches" to mean "studies", but the correct use of "researches" has a long history and that use remains current.

    The word "research" is:
    b) a plural noun
    And that is also manifestly untrue, as we may say "research is undertaken by researchers" not "research are undertaken by researchers".
     

    Paul Gibson

    New Member
    English
    Well, that is manifestly untrue - as illustrated in post 30. This thread started with a misuse of the word "researches" to mean "studies", but the correct use of "researches" has a long history and that use remains current.

    And that is also manifestly untrue, as we may say "research is undertaken by researchers" not "research are undertaken by researchers".
    Post 30 makes a very valid point: " but none are more recent than 75 years ago. ".... People do not use "researches" when referring to "studies". It's all about the context here.

    Regarding your second point - you are right! I meant "a mass noun" not a plural noun. Just like news, economics, etc... where you use the third person singular, not the third person plural.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    You don't appear to have read all of post 30. You have quoted an earlier post that PaulQ quoted. 1990 and 2002 were not 75 years ago.
    1990 M. Roberts In Red Kitchen (1991) 63 Having terminated my researches on Mr Home, I have not exhausted my interest in the subject of spiritualism.

    2002 D. Freedberg Eve of Lynx iii. xi. 344 His researches on the fossil woods led him to researches on other fossils.
     

    Paul Gibson

    New Member
    English
    Correct me if I am wrong,

    But I see that in British English it is okay to say "researches"... In American Business English, this term is inadmissible. But thanks for the input Devon!
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I don't think researches is used like that in American English. When I see it I picture Sherlock Holmes and quaint old stories of eccentric scientists.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Macmillan Dictionary states that "researches" as the plural form is wrong.
    Then get a more accurate dictionary, Edison.:)
    I don't think researches is used like that in American English. When I see it I picture Sherlock Holmes and quaint old stories of eccentric scientists.
    There are plenty of educated recent American examples in the COCA (AE Corpus)
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    The entry must have been updated:The OED now gives research as
    [...]
    (b) As a count noun. Freq. in pl.

    1955 Times 7 May 9/6 Could the G.P.O. be persuaded to undertake an operational research into the use of Post Offices?
    1990 M. Roberts In Red Kitchen (1991) 63 Having terminated my researches on Mr Home, I have not exhausted my interest in the subject of spiritualism.
    2002 D. Freedberg Eve of Lynx iii. xi. 344 His researches on the fossil woods led him to researches on other fossils.
    While conceding that researches and a research could be okay in exceptional circumstances, I'm afraid that the 'pull' of the mass noun is so strong for me that all three of the OED's examples above sound ... well, just a teeny bit borderline-illiterate :(
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    It seems to me that the dubious sentence quoted in #1 would be perfectly fine if treated as a simple typo, with a missing 'r':
    "Very few researchers have noted the role this plays in shaping power relations."

    After all, research doesn't (or researches don't) really note anything. Research is the activity of seeking knowledge. The noting is done by the people writing up the results of their research(es), and by transference we can say that their papers note something.
     
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