When writing a journal article, I've noticed I have a habit of name-dropping concepts that are related to my argument. This has the benefit of increasing the links between my paper and other research, and also provides a framework for my arguments that is grounded in the literature. But it also tends to clog up the article with too many ideas, making it confusing, boorish and overly academic.

What is a good balance to strike between these two - linking my argument to other ideas vs keeping it simple and understandable? Any tips on how to know when you've gone too far in one direction or the other?

  • Well, if your text is boorish it may be more about tone than the number of concepts mentioned.
    – Anyon
    Jan 22 at 14:04
  • 2
    You put in the ideas that need to be there to convey your point to the reader. Anything else is confusing at best.
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 22 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


This is a judgement call and you seem to be making it, but not adhering to your judgement. "I can't define it but I know it when I see it" is a common trope.

If you think you are overdoing it, then do less of it. Or just edit (once again) any paper that you think has overdone your own best judgement of the practice.

If reviewers comment then try to follow their advice, as always. If they don't comment, then you are probably more or less OK.

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