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This problem comes up a lot when I write text that describes other's work.

to enable personalized Web searches was first proposed in [32], however in [9] it was showed to be computationally inefficient. [33] iterated upon the method and made it suitable for real-time use....

My question is if this is poor style? I've written such paragraphs myself but I have also seen them in real, published research. Hence the question.

marked as duplicate by JeffE, Anyon, user68958, Community Apr 26 at 21:24

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It is a bit easier on the reader if you say, instead:

to enable personalized Web searches was first proposed by Smith in [32], however in [9] Jones, et al., showed this to be computationally inefficient. And Lindqvist in [33] iterated upon the method and made it suitable for real-time use....

It is easier, I suggest, for the reader to have something like a "picture" associated with a name, rather than just a reference number. And if the same author wrote more than one of the papers it brings them together in the reader's mind.

  • True. But in each of 9, 32 and 33 there is not one author but five or more. :) – Björn Lindqvist Apr 26 at 17:26
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    Hence, et al. For two, you might list both names, of course. – Buffy Apr 26 at 17:27
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    Bah. Humbug. "Enabling personalized web searches was first proposed by Smith [32]; however, Jones et al [9] showed this to be computationally inefficient. Lindqvist [9] later improved on the method, making it suitable for real-time use." – JeffE Apr 26 at 19:59
  • Uncle, Uncle. @JeffE – Buffy Apr 26 at 20:29

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