So I've been writing [English] scientific articles for quite a while, but for years I've wondered what preposition is needed in the following sentence structure (just an example in my field of research, but it applies science-wide). I'm a non-native English speaker.

We measured speech understanding scores [preposition] cochlear implant users.

[preposition] options as far as I can see:

  • in : is technically awkward, as speech understanding is tested by verbal testing and hence it's not an objective measure obtained within the body. However, it is commonly used in the scientific literature;
  • of : sounds a bit weird, but technically it seems OK;
  • from : also quite awkward, as it seems to imply something is taken from the study subjects;
  • by : In a way this is a good choice, but requires a different sentence structure, like: 'We measured SRTs obtained by performing speech recognition....'. This is OK, but more words are needed and the 'active' format of the sentence is lost. I therefore do not support this option.
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    Seems like "in" would be fine, if that's the standard prep used in the lit. – Wordster Nov 2 '18 at 15:04
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    Seems like "of" would be fine. The 'users' possess their 'scores'. – AmI Nov 2 '18 at 15:38
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    I don't think that in sounds wrong. But among is also a good choice. (Although I agree with the answer that the sentence should be rephrased in general.) – Jason Bassford Nov 2 '18 at 19:18
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    @AliceD Writing is not a bad choice, but for scientific articles another good choice is Academia. You might even want to look at whatever stack supports your specific discipline. – MetaEd Nov 2 '18 at 20:11
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    @AliceD Just looking at the question, I think Writing over Academia. This is just because it doesn't seem to be a question that is specific to academia (wouldn't, for example, be treated in MLA or CMOS). Seems more like a question of the clearest way to express yourself. In fact, you might even get good help at English Language Learners. Preposition choice is one of the very hard things for non-native users of English. It's hard even for native English speakers to clearly articulate why they use what they do. ELL experts often have a better handle on that particular problem. – MetaEd Nov 2 '18 at 21:06

Technically speaking, you don't measure a speech understanding score, you measure speech understanding and give it a score. The score isn't actually a property of the cochlear implant users, it's a property of your assessment of their speech understanding. You could say "We scored cochlear implant users on speech understanding" or "We measured the speech understanding of cochlear implant users and assigned them a score" or "We assigned cochlear implant users a score based on our measurement of their speech understanding".

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