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I want to say the following sentence in the most formal manner:

These stunning data are [?????] from instruments such as"

However, I'm completely doubtful about the precedence of each word in that regard.

(I think the verbs "gather", "collect", "achieve" well suits to being used in this context.)

  • *archive is an odd thing out compared to those two* – Maulik V Dec 19 '14 at 8:24
  • @MaulikV Do you mean "Achieve" or have you just mixed it with "Archive"? – mok Dec 19 '14 at 8:32
  • OMG... mea culpa! I read it too fast! It was all about data so... achieve became archive. But see the fun, it's still odd thing out if the context is data. – Maulik V Dec 19 '14 at 8:36
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    @mok You'd want to choose between these words carefully, not because one is more formal than another, but because they have different meanings. Your "in the most formal manner" suggests that most of your readers can tell the differences between them. Data and information are not quite the same thing. We usually use "collect data", "gather information", and "achieve goals", though it's not really set in stone (e.g. sometimes we use data for information, sometimes we say data gathering because we gather the data from different places or sources, etc.) Consult dictionaries for more info. – Damkerng T. Dec 19 '14 at 9:15
  • @DamkerngT. Just great! – mok Dec 19 '14 at 9:21
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I'd go with "collect".

While "gather" is not wrong, it has an undertone of scurrying around to find it, some randomness - think "hunters and gatherers" in the stone age. We gather twigs for a campfire, a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.

"Collect" carries a sense of method, structure and planning: We collect stamps. And I suppose your data collection follows methodical procedures and has a purpose.

"Achieve" points out the effort involved (-> achievment), so unless you want to stress that you had to do a lot of unusual work with your meassurements, you shouldn't use it here.

Oh, and Maulik V has a point:
If you call your data "stunning", it might be misread (or at least make your reader grin a bit): It's often used to describe very good-looking, sexually attractive women. Most Hollywood actresses fall into this category ;-) It's not wrong, though. And remember: Scientific papers sometimes have a somewhat tongue-in-cheek title...
You might want to appear more serious and choose "surprising", "unusual" or something else that fits your context.

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Gather data = collect data

But then, the latter is more common.

I won't prefer achieve because that is used mainly for humans as they get something after making efforts. For a machine collecting data, achieve would be a bad choice.

Another typical word I use is fetch data.

Note: I wonder which way data is stunning! Using this adjective with data is something I haven't come across frequently. :)

  • First, thanks for the answer. Second, I, myself, thought of "fetch" however is it grammatically correct to say "fetched from instruments such as x, y,.."? Furthermore, I think "stunning" fits the meaning of the sentence in my context. Indeed it is borrowed from this sentence: "Stunning new data from space-based observatories, combined with rapid advances in computing, are inspiring breakthroughs in space weather research.", from NASA's official website. – mok Dec 19 '14 at 8:55
  • I'd place data after fetch in that case. Fetch data from instruments... but fetch in place of gather or collect would surely work. And yes, I guess only NASA can have stunning data of the universe! :P – Maulik V Dec 19 '14 at 9:02
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There are several variations you can try. Although data is correctly a plural noun in many contexts it is used as a singular.

This data has been collected using the following instruments: instrument 1, instrument 2, etc, ...

or using the plural noun and collated

This set of data has been collated using instruments including instrument 1, instrument 2, etc, ...

You could also replace the words collected with gathered with or sourced. e.g.

This set of data has been sourced from the following instruments: instrument 1, instrument 2, etc, ...

The sentence above also changes the emphasis, so in the other sentences you were using the instruments to collect data about your subject. In the sentence above you are taking the data from the instruments.

You could also use extracted:

This collection of data has been extracted from the following instruments: ...

If you want to be more descriptive about the data, stunning doesn't really work (stunning is usually used to describe the aesthetic of a physical object or person). A good word to describe a set of data is rich. This means that there is a lot of good quality data.

This rich set of data has been collected from the instruments: instrument 1, instrument 2, etc, ...

So you can see there are lots of different variations you can try!

NB: As an aside I don't like the term such as, it sounds weak.

  • "data" is a plural noun, but often (incorrectly) used as singular... collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/data – Stephie Dec 19 '14 at 9:09
  • Thanks for the answer, however, "after data, you can use a singular verb or, in formal or technical English, a plural verb".((Longman dictionary)) – mok Dec 19 '14 at 9:18
  • Yes accepted although collins note it is commonly used as a plural noun and in the context I think is ok. It's grammatically incorrect to say "these data". You might say "these data points" or "these sets of data" or "this collection of data" – br3w5 Dec 19 '14 at 9:23
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In the most formal manner? Consider

These stunning data are drawn from such instruments as . . . .

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