I recently read an article about Navy pilots seeing something they couldn't identify and thought they did a good job of reporting on the incident without making assumptions as to what they were seeing.

I'm looking for a word or phrase to describe this type of reporting in which the observer strictly states their observation without drawing conclusions about, or inferences from, what was observed.

Sample sentence...

I appreciated the witness's _________ style of reporting their observations without making inferences or drawing conclusions as to what it was they were witnessing.

  • 2
    You say you have been looking, but not how you have been looking. There are obvious words to start you off: 'objectively' would be one; 'descriptively'. There might be others. If neither of these will do, try using a thesaurus. If that will not do, try modifying one of the candidate words with some adverb: for example, "strictly objective" or "rigorously objective" might do. But you do need on ELU to show that you done something to solve the problem yourself.
    – Tuffy
    May 29, 2019 at 17:13
  • @Davo: i'm not sure impartial or unbiased includes the connotation of not drawing conclusions or inferences from what was observed
    – sfletche
    May 29, 2019 at 18:20
  • 'Non-committal' is worth considering. May 29, 2019 at 18:47
  • @EdwinAshworth I disagree. Non-committal has an undertone of uninterested as much as it is disinterested. The former implies that the reporter is un-invested which is not the same as being objective which I think is more aligned with the question.
    – franklin
    May 30, 2019 at 1:46
  • @franklin None of the seven dictionaries I've consulted mentions the 'undertone of uninterested', so perhaps you need to readjust. Connotation levels are notoriously subjective, and one should consult references that take in wider samples than just oneself. May 30, 2019 at 11:11

3 Answers 3


objective ODO

1 (of a person or their judgement) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.
1.1 Not dependent on the mind for existence; actual.

The opposite is subjective, where the person offers their opinions or conclusions.



restricted to or based on fact

Facts are unembellished, stubborn things that aren't always convenient, but are incredibly persistent. A factual account doesn't lend itself to any bias or agenda.


Try descriptive. Oxford Dictionaries:

  1. Describing or classifying in an objective and non-judgemental way.

Especially when describing research or study, descriptive denotes that one is focusing on observations rather than making conjectures or conclusions on the basis of those observations. In this way, one can refer to "descriptive research" (a set of research methods centered on description, like observations, case studies, or surveys), "descriptive data" (data "describing what is," according to one publication) and "descriptive journalism" (described in the introduction to the Historical Dictionary of Journalism as "neutral, descriptive journalism" as opposed to "a more analytical and interpretive journalism").

All of these uses inherently suppose that the quality of description is reliable and that observer bias is minimized. Hence:

I found the descriptive reporting to be a refreshing example of news without assumptions or bias.

I appreciated the witness's descriptive style of reporting their observations without making inferences or drawing conclusions as to what it was they were witnessing.

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