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“So the research shows”, or “According to research”. If you added together all the times these and similar phrases are used in the media on any single day, they’d stretch to the moon and back (according to research).

In academic writing we have to mention our sources, summarise research, and accurately quote other authors. Then the reader can go and check (an quite a few of them do).

Writers in the media compound the over use of the “according to research” opener by then not mentioning their source anyway, so the phrase doesn’t add value. And among mundane daily bulletins and the trivia of our daily opinions, research doesn’t matter a jot.

I’m not knocking research, but our over-reliance to references to it in the hope of adding credibility to our efforts. Since we all want to be experts in something, we should be happy to exchange ideas without needing back-up (especially when it is only alluded to and rarely called on).

I think that we should declare a research-free zone, maybe lasting a week or a month at a time, in which we could practice the art of discussing what we know about freely, and without fear of not being taken seriously.

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