Another brief observation. I was just reading a popular cooking/recipe magazine and they mentioned that the New York Board of Health did an "academic study" of the new nutrition labeling laws. ARGH. I don't like calling scientific research "academic study" because to me that implies: 1) it's academic - it's a pursuit for it's own sake or for increased knowledge, not for evaluation or application, 2) only scientists in academe do studies, 3) the results might not be accessible for the public.
I ran into this at work and I tried to stamp it out because the vast majority of the work we support is application-based, not pure or basic science, and appearance is important. Scientists in industry and government do research studies that are systematic and rigorous and sometimes related directly to evaluation or application. They need library resources to directly support this work - not just for their education or for knowledge but to support the work that is central to what they do.
Ok. So that's my rant - is it just semantics or should we push for not using "academic study" in place of research/evaluation study, rigorous systematic research or whatever?
I'd say it's not just semantics, though that's a big part of it (language screws communication far too often!). Academic isn't really a good word to describe a study, since all it tells you is it's associated with a university or academy, so it may just be a case of the author not knowing a better word (or thinking academic sounded good).
If they're using scientific methodology, then a scientific study would be better, or quantitative, or rigourous, or (I'm too lazy to think of any more).