Professor Pedantic 教授的考究學問
The professor awaits your query on academic writing, though in all honesty, he doesn’t have a lot of time for you. He is a tenured full professor and working on yet another magnificent academic tome. Even so, he has graciously consented to entertain your question. Submit it and prepare to be edified.

QUESTION: How often should I restate my premise as I work my way through my paper?

Restating a premise is not necessary, per se. That is, while a thesis introduced at the front of a paper should be revisited in the paper’s conclusion, the central proposition of a paper generally doesn’t have to appear again and again verbatim throughout a paper. Unless the structure of a paper lends itself to such repeated use of a particular declaratory sentence, subtle allusions are sufficient. They will keep the point of a paper in front of a reader. They will serve as guideposts as a reader moves though the paper, reminders of where reader and writer are headed together.

Some repetition of the central purpose of a paper is a good idea, because it gives a paper coherence, pulling it together like a drawstring, capturing and holding a reader’s interest. Without such a common thread running through it, a paper is apt to wander into interesting but largely irrelevant tangents. Such detours do not contribute significantly to understanding. Quite the contrary: The further a writer strays from a core subject, the more difficulty the writer will have smoothly transitioning back. Abrupt jogs in exposition leave readers nonplussed.

So at key points, allude to the premise using synonyms, or describe it anew in the course of giving anecdotal or clinical examples. If a premise has a key word, drop it in (in proper context) throughout the body of the paper. This subliminal referencing to the premise ensures that a reader remains focused throughout his reading without explicitly being asked to do so. In the end, the logical development of a subject and systematic revelation of new information should reinforce a premise at every step without additional aids, but it is wise to use every tool.

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