I am trying to state a finding regarding the associating between X and Y. Below is what I propose:

... previous research that found X to be associated with Y.

However, I am not sure if find can be used this way.

Would noted or reported be better candidates?

3 Answers 3


When stating the results of previous research (the "findings") in academic writing, the word "found" is a completely acceptable and very commonly used term, so your original sentence is fine. In fact "found" is more conventional than either "noted" or "reported" in the context of academic writing, both of which sound less certain than "found". They might be more likely to be used to describe something that was mentioned in a research paper but wasn't part of the main results (e.g. "it was noted that participants in the study appeared anxious").

Also, although this wasn't your original question, it might be a good idea to be more specific about the nature of the association between x and y. It sounds like perhaps you mean "correlated" but that isn't clear, as two variables can be "associated" in different ways and it's important when reporting research findings to be clear about this.

  • thanks for this great answer! then found X to be associated does not have any grammar issues I believe.
    – renakre
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 10:14
  • Yes, this. In particular, "previous research that reported blah" sounds to me like what you would write if you weren't convinced of the validity of that research. Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 13:10
  • Sorry, came up with mine shortly after yours. Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 9:31



Definition of correlate

    1 :  either of two things so related that one directly implies or is complementary to the other (such as husband and wife) brain size as a correlate of intelligence

    2 :  a phenomenon that accompanies another phenomenon, is usually parallel to it, and is related in some way to it
    … precise electrical correlates of conscious thinking in the human brain … — Bayard Webster


A new study correlates these symptoms with those illnesses.
  • That would replace "associate" and not "find."
    – Casey
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 14:10

I am going to go with:


    transitive verb

1:  to supply with cross-references cross–reference a book

2:  to research, verify, or organize by means of cross-references cross–reference information


Time was of the essence, so the administrator decided to **cross-reference** the users against the database for possible matches.

The scientist needed to cross-reference the DNA of the potential father against that of the unborn.
  • 1
    To cross-reference means to look for association, not to report that there is one: 'for possible matches'. Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 9:30
  • Yes, I see you are correct. Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 9:57

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