When writing scientific discussions (articles, book chapters, reports, ...), I frequently feel short on synonyms of the verb study, which I use extensively in sentences such as “in the next section, we study the influence of ... on ...”. The alternatives I frequently use include investigate, research, look into, and shed light into (with a slightly different meaning). What I like in study and its synonyms is its rather generic meaning: it does not actually specify the type of research being done, which is desirable in some occasions.

As a consequence, I am looking for other alternatives to this verb, or constructs similar to the example quoted above (“in the next section, we study the influence of ... on ...”), to improve my writing.

4 Answers 4


I think these might work:
1. Pay attention to
2. Consider
3. Brainstorm
4. Canvass
5. Scrutinize
6. Discuss
7. Contemplate
8. Survey

  • I like scrutinize.
    – F'x
    Commented Feb 15, 2011 at 10:32

The alternatives I can think of are:

  • analyze
  • check out (informal)
  • cram (informal)
  • explore
  • hit the books (informal)
  • inquire into
  • inspect
  • learn
  • look at
  • read
  • review
  • I like inspect and inquire into. I want to avoid informal alternatives at all cost, and thus wonder: isn't look at somewhat informal?
    – F'x
    Commented Feb 13, 2011 at 10:35
  • Oh, another question and a comment: 1. for read, NOAD has “study (an academic subject) at a university”, which is incoherent with the idea of research (as opposed to learning)? 2. review has a different, established meaning of “comprehensive survey”, which I want to avoid here
    – F'x
    Commented Feb 13, 2011 at 10:41
  • Look at doesn't sound informal to me. The NOAD doesn't report it is informal; the example I find on that dictionary is a committee is looking at the financing of PBS.
    – avpaderno
    Commented Feb 13, 2011 at 11:00
  • Read is also used to mean to discover information by reading it in a written or printed source: I read about the course in a magazine.
    – avpaderno
    Commented Feb 13, 2011 at 11:11
  • @kiamlaluno, in that sense, I don't think it's appropriate in academic writing
    – F'x
    Commented Feb 13, 2011 at 11:33

I'd try to convey how the next section achieves something. For example, the next section ..

  • introduces
  • surveys
  • analyzes
  • concludes
  • compares
  • collects
  • defines
  • hypothesizes
  • assumes

something about your field of study.

  • Examine
  • Review
  • Consider
  • Appraise
  • Probe
  • Scrutinise

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