Is it possible to say that "I derived my research question", without having to say where you derived it from? E.g.

I derived my research question.


I derived my research question from this data.

Which would be more appropriate?

  • As per Oxford: Obtain something from (a specified source). – VTH Aug 21 '18 at 15:14
  • But the source may be and frequently is obvious in context, without being mentioned in a sentence. – John Lawler Aug 21 '18 at 15:32
  • It is also possible to say: "How do we derive it?", where the source is not specified but is asked about. Also a transitive in logic: "That is what I derive" = "That is what I think" or "That is what I came up with": which also doesn't explain where something was derived from. – Rob Aug 21 '18 at 16:06
  • I've just taken a look at CoCAE and found that approximately 78/101 results for derive are used in conjunction with from, suggesting that -- while not at all common -- derived can definitely be used without from. Please use with caution, however, since the nuances behind them are a bit murky. There are some other uses, as @Rob suggested, but these are somewhat esoteric and won't be encountered regularly. With that said, if you do have a source from which you derive something, it should really be included in the sentence. – VTH Aug 21 '18 at 16:18
  • The use of the word derive shifts the focus to the (unstated) source. Avoid it. – Kris Aug 22 '18 at 8:28

I did the research and derived my question.

This might be a good way of phrasing it since it still doesn't state where exactly it's from, yet it does specify that it's from someplace - in this case - research in general.

I don't know, though, where and how exactly you want to use it, but I hope this was helpful.


Is it possible to say that "I derived my research question", without having to say where you derived it from?

You can say either:

I derived my research question.


I derived my research question from this data.

Notice that the second sentence doesn't literally explain exactly where you derived it from, the reader still needs more information to know what "this data" is. In the first example you say "I have what I need" and in the second example you say "I got what I need from something".

Either is correct but be prepared to be asked for more information. It is also your right to not provide more information. Even if specifics are vague that doesn't make the grammar, spelling or other aspects of the sentence in any way incorrect.

There is a comment on the question that "usage without specifying the source of the information occurs approximately 22% of the time", that doesn't make such usage uncommon, nor does it mean such usage is incorrect.

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