I have been living in a non-Mandarin Chinese environment for about four years. Sadly, this does not automatically mean that my English becomes wonderful.
Today I will introduce this new word – circumscribe. I read it from my winter methodology school description that reassures the participants that both quantitative and qualitative orientations are suitable to come to the course. It says, “…especially if their [participants with statistical approaches] populations and/or samples are not so obvious to circumscribe.”
According to Merrian-Webster dictionary, circumscribe is described as follows:
1a : to constrict the range or activity of definitely and clearly<his role was carefully circumscribed>
b : to define or mark off carefully <a study of plant species in a circumscribed area>
2a : to draw a line around
b : to surround by or as if by a boundary <fieldscircumscribed by tall trees>
Circumscribe seems to be one of those posh words that has been widely used in academic articles. For example, when Lijphart explains the definition of his comparative methods, he says that “the approach of his earlier articles was to circumscribe in a number of ways.” (Lijphart 1971: 682)