The Related Work section of an academic paper is often the section that graduate students like writing the least.But it is also one of the most important sections to nail as the paper heads out for review.
In an ideal world you would identify all relevant work prior to starting your own research so that it can inform your approach, but in the real world that doesn't always happen.
You may have holes in your initial lit review, or related work may be published after you begin a study.
An example of this basic structure for a paragraph in the body of a Related Work section can be found in A Crowd-Powered Socially Embedded Search Engine: ACM papers use numbers to cite related work, which provides limited context compared to other citation formats.
Do not treat these numbers as part of the paper's text.
To avoid bruised egos, do not leave significant holes and try to include papers by a variety of different authors.
Include citations to your own papers when relevant, even if the paper you are writing is being submitted anonymously. Instead, cite your papers the same way you would cite any other paper, in the third person.There is, for example, no need to explain that there has been a lot of research into web search at the start of an information retrieval Related Work section.Instead, highlight the specific sub-area and tell the reader what aspects of that sub-area are particularly relevant.You should not, for example, say, "" End the Related Work section with a paragraph that summarizes what is know given existing literature, and highlight why the work to be presented in your paper offers a valuable contribution beyond this.An example can be found in Understanding How the Projection of Availability State Impacts the Reception of Incoming Communication: In summary, the work presented in this paper builds on previous research to explore how availability information relates to people’s communication decisions.For example, in a paper on cross-session search I write, "" But while it is fine to cite your own work, be wary of over-citing yourself.Too many papers by an unexpected person typically signals that that person is an author, and generally looks bad.The Related Work section serves many purposes, several of which relate directly to reviewing: Framing When placing your research in the context of the existing literature, there is no need to show that prior work is all wrong to show that your paper makes a contribution.In fact, doing so is likely place reviewers and readers who have written relevant content in a combative frame of mind as they read.Then write a sentence or two about several of the most relevant papers from the group, highlighting the approach used and relevant findings.End the paragraph with a sentence explaining how the work in your paper contributes something new in light of these papers.