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I see this phrase being used often by non-native speakers, and it never fails to strike me as incorrect:

"In this research, [...]" 

I also note that Wiktionary and Merriam-Webster consider that usage correct, but "rare" and "formal + old-fashioned". This Quora question has a comment that says that it is restricted to British English, too, but there are no sources for this. Searching for occurrences of this usage on Google is hard, because "researches" could also be the verb, and "a research" is usually followed by "paper" or "group".

So, is research as a countable noun really used by native speakers, or has it already fallen out of usage and is only kept alive by awkward translations?

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    In your quote, research is an abstract mass noun, and perfectly normal. A countable example would be "In these researches"; "I did a number of researches" (which does sound distinctly odd, formal and old-fashioned).
    – Andrew Leach
    Nov 12, 2015 at 7:07
  • Yes it is, and it is a common expression in wring too: books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – user66974
    Nov 12, 2015 at 7:07
  • @Josh61 But look what happens when you change the target to in these researches
    – WS2
    Nov 12, 2015 at 7:19
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    Your example In this research is probably not the best one, because it could be either countable, or uncountable. Perhaps you want to write In these researches? Nov 12, 2015 at 8:13
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    You do not give an example of a count usage. The test is whether numerals can correctly be inserted ('In these 2 / 6 / 100 researches' ... and they can't. But there is something of an anomaly here – as with 'in this work' there is an understood if indefinite deletion. ' ... in the undertaking of this research' / 'among the discoveries made in the undertaking of this research [+ adjustment]' / 'in the body of this work' .... Oct 20, 2021 at 13:57

1 Answer 1

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When you want to refer to a non-specific general study as "research", it doesn't need to be pluralized as the word "research" itself can mean it as an abstract noun.

When it is difficult to find usages for a word which can be used as "noun" and "verb" at the same time such as "research", you could consider searching it as a "subject" in a passive sentence:

"research has been done" vs "researches have been done" in Ngram Viewer.

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There could be a situation where more than one piece of research has been done. For example, "A research" using monkeys as a guinea pig, "B research" using mice, "C research" using pigs. Then, the mass noun "research" is pluralized in:

These three researches have shown that the medicine is safe for a test on human.

or

All research has shown that the medicine is safe for a test on human.

In the second example, you don't need to pluralize "research" as the usage of "researches" indicates below.

enter image description here

You could consider using "piece of" to express the number of researches, but using "3 pieces of research" in the above second example doesn't seem to be ideal as it is not concise and you can pluralize "research".

enter image description here

You could see the plural form is rarely used in "the research on" vs "the researches on"

enter image description here

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    While this answer contains useful tips on using Ngram viewer to answer this question, I feel like it does not really answer it, so I hesitate to accept.
    – FvD
    Nov 17, 2015 at 15:00
  • @FvD You don't need to accept an answer.
    – wjandrea
    Jul 28, 2021 at 0:21

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