I dove into similar questions but didn't find the exact question. I am writing my paper and I know that "the" should be used before methods, but how could it be when there are 3 methods consecutively in a sentence? I was wondering if you could let me know which of them is true.

  1. We analyzed aftershocks using the Gardner (1974), the Knopo (1986), and the Grünthal (1998) methods.
  2. We analyzed aftershocks using the Gardner (1974), Knopo (1986), and Grünthal (1998) methods.
  3. We analyzed aftershocks using the Gardner (1974) method, the Knopo (1986) method, and the Grünthal (1998) method.

Could we omit the or method in two of them in order to get rid of repetition?

  • 3
    I like 2 and consider it adequate.
    – Xanne
    Feb 14, 2021 at 22:05
  • 1
    I don't know about scientific papers, but #2 is the most natural sounding.
    – pkr
    Feb 14, 2021 at 22:33

1 Answer 1


I would suggest saying :

We analyzed aftershocks according to Gardner (1974) according to Knopo (1986) ... etc.

'According to' is academic speak for 'according to the methods of'. Or, at least, it was when I was involved in laboratory methodology.

The 'according to' needs to be repeated, otherwise 'according to Gardner (1974), Knopo (1986) etc' becomes ambiguous, in that Gardner/Knopo could refer to a single method reported by multiple authors.

Multiple authors of a single method, that is to say a single paper written by multiple authors, would usually be reported as 'according to Smith et al (2021)', et al being short for et alia meaning 'and others'.

There are also other ways of stating this information.

  • I'd use "et al." only if the method was proposed by multiple authors in a single, joint paper. If the same method was proposed by multiple authors in several papers, things could get awkward. It seems to me that the OP's formulation with "using ... methods" works better than "according to". Feb 15, 2021 at 2:46
  • Dear Nigel, Thanks. In the case of using "according to", there is no need to use "the"? Besides, your explanation about "according to" instead of "using" draw my attention to verbs appropriate for talking about methods. What if we want to say using/utilizing/carrying out a method? Sometimes it is necessary to avoid repetition in writing and using different verbs. Moreover, I was wondering if you could introduce some of the other ways of sating this information you had in mind. Many thanks. Feb 15, 2021 at 6:40
  • @SoniaBazargan I am relying on my own experience of scientific journals from my Chemistry days. (I am a Licentiate of the Royal Society of Chemistry.) No, no need to use the article when saying 'according to' as you are relating to the author : 'we analyzed aftershocks according to Gardner'. There are other ways but this is the best, the neatest, and the most professional.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 15, 2021 at 6:47

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