Writing a Convincing Paper by Russell Taylor

I’ll start by talking about one of the most-overlooked sections: Prior Work/Related Work. This is where you describe other work in the field and how your approach is an improvement over it. It is very important to BE POSITIVE in this section. Many times, people are tempted to say things like “Method XYZ fails to handle the case of moving particles” when it would be so much better to have said “Method XYZ was intended for stationary particles and our method extends it to work robustly with moving particles.” Besides being the right thing to do, this has two tangible benefit: (1) It puts the reviewer in a positive state of mind, so they may be more likely to be kind with the faults of your method, and (2) remember that the people who will review your paper are often the authors of these very techniques you are writing about…

One Comment

  1. Laura Miller
    Posted November 8, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    I definitely agree with Russ. The people whose work you are discussing may be your reviewer! Also, research is hard and none of us are 100% right and use the best approach 100% of the time.

    I would also extend this advice to talks. Discuss other’s work in the context of our own in a positive light. It is always nice to hear someone complement your work and to make allies!

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