Sharp PR professionals and marketeers call them surveys. The academically more pretentious tend to call them studies and invoke the trappings of science in their press releases.
The purpose of both is to create headlines in print and debate on-air replete with brand references for products, charities and institutions.
Encouragingly for our trade, the signs are that media resistance to some of the less substantial and occasionally specious 'findings' has lessened recently.
In particular, the much sought-after middle-market media seem particularly up for a good trend, occasionally almost regardless of its provenance.
Within 24 hours last week the Daily Mail uncritically imparted the following trends to its readership.
The average father spends a year of his life and £33,012 as a taxi driver to his children - research from Halfords.
Thirty-nine per cent of adults in the UK are kept awake for an average of one-and-a-half hours a night by snoring partners. Credit to British Lung Foundation.
Three in ten households have problems with noisy neighbours. Research by Which? Legal Services.
Twenty-two per cent of people feel closer to work colleagues than to their partners. The PROs behind this one deserve an award for securing a full plug for their clients, the ink cartridge firm stinkyink.com.
Meanwhile, thanks to a 'study' (of just 45 men and women) by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mail readers - and online and broadcast audiences - learned that 'most' women believe a man who says 'I love you' in less than the 'average 97.3 days' is not to be trusted.
Intrepid scientists at the University of Northumbria produced a mathematical formula for making a cup of tea - which should be drunk six minutes after brewing. They also discovered that Britons drink 60.2 billion cuppas a year. These pioneering researchers put their reputations on the line for Cravendale milk.
To quote the Mail's own greatest living columnist, you couldn't make it up. But then again, who needs to when you've got a PR world bursting with amazing undiscovered trends and top scientists to back them up?
Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and a former executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun