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Are the uses of the phrase 'refer to' as follows correct?

  • The methodology in this research referred to UNESCO.

  • The methodology in this research was referred to UNESCO.

I believe what the writer wants to say is 'the methodology used in this research is the same methodology that UNESCO uses.' Thanks so much.

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closed as not a real question by jwpat7, tchrist, Kris, kiamlaluno, MετάEd Mar 12 '13 at 5:23

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Please explain what the sentences are supposed to mean. How can methodology make reference to something? A description of methodology might do so, but not the methodology itself. –  jwpat7 Mar 11 '13 at 7:36

2 Answers 2

They mean different things. The first means that the methodology mentioned UNESCO. The second means that the methodology was passed to UNESCO. At least, it would if the verb showed agreement with the subject, as it does when rewritten as ‘The methodology in this research was referred to UNESCO.

It isn't clear from your examples in isolation exactly what the writer is trying to say.

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It is possible that what the writer wants to say is "For the methodology in this research, we refer the reader to UNESCO." If this is the case, then both are wrong.

The writer may be trying to avoid using terms like "the reader", "we", "you", and so forth. I don't believe it is possible to write this using the word "refer", but without using any of these terms. To use the verb "refer", one has to specify either a subject or an object.

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