I am in the process of writing a research paper that compares my Methods A and B against a commonly accepted gold standard (reference) method. All methods produce objects that are identical in the ideal case.

I am now in the search of a noun to refer to the objects which are not the reference objects, i.e. objects produced by A and B, in the context of the comparison. Example sentence:

The ______ are smaller compared to the reference objects.

So far I have tried working with test objects and input objects and sample, but they appear wrong to my intuition. Ideally it would be a term familiar to other academics.

  • Why not just The outputs are smaller compared to the reference objects? Or rephrase so you can incorporate a verb: Methods A and B generate objects [which are] smaller than the reference objects. Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 15:30
  • Things produced (and we broaden language so that 'produced by method A' say is fine) are products. Perhaps this doesn't work well if 'objects' is broadened from 'material things'. Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 16:07
  • Along the lines of the comment by @FumbleFingers, how about A’s and B’s outputs are smaller than the corresponding reference objects? Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 16:17
  • It's slightly "unusual" that the reference standard here is in fact a model itself, so we can't really refer to it as ground truth. In many similar contexts, we say things like The model predicts objects which are smaller than the ground truth ones. That's to say, model and ground truth are contrasted often enough that English naturally provides for easy referencing. But [untrusted] model under development and [trusted] existing model aren't really in the same league for "things that need names". Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 16:48
  • Familiar to other academics regardless of their field??
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 16:51

2 Answers 2


Sometimes simplest is best. I don't see what's wrong with "The objects produced by Methods A and B are smaller than the reference objects." (Or FumbleFingers' suggested reordering.) It's a bit of a mouthful; you couldn't, say, label a chart with it. So you could also invent a shortened phrase and explain it: "The objects produced by Methods A and B (hereafter 'A objects' and 'B objects' are smaller...."

Note, you seem to have a need to include the word "object" (perhaps you're using "object" here for simplicity when the real work would use something else?). But if not, a simpler form of "The objects produced by Method A" is "the output of Method A" (or outcome, or product, or other suggestions that have been given).


A term found in this context, but perhaps not too usual, is the word "individual"; it is used commonly enough in biology. This term is used in set theory and logic; the entities discussed in this field are of a nature akin to those in the present context (in view of their abstractness).

(Wikipedia): "For example, in an interpretation of first-order logic, the domain of discourse is the set of individuals over which the quantifiers range".

(SOED) individual    B n. 1 A single thing or a group of things regarded as a unit; a single member of a class or group. b A thing which is determined by properties peculiar to itself and cannot be subdivided into others of the same kind. c Biol. An organism regarded as having a separate existence; a single member of a species or of a colonial or compound organism. Late 18th century.

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