While writing a thesis, suppose that, one wants to inform the reader that he/she needs to have a basic knowledge of some topic to understand the following.

If the term is explained in Background and Terminology, how should I say this?

For the readers who are not familiar with the term blah-blah, we explain it in detail in Section 1.2.


We strongly encourage our readers to read Section 1.2 to obtain information about blah-blah.

or, what else?

  • There may be some conventions that come in to play. I was told it was expected that the first chapter was written at research level, and then the second has all the introductory material, more at graduate student level.
    – Jessica B
    Dec 21, 2014 at 18:39

1 Answer 1


I personally don't like making presumptions about the reader's knowledge when I am writing. Someone may, for example, be familiar with a term or concept but use it in a difference sense than the paper does. This is especially true in cross-disciplinary work or when there are unsettled scientific issues in play. I thus prefer a value-neutral statement.

For example, a general pointer might be:

See Section 2 for a review of the background and terminology of this work

while a pointer for a specific element might be:

We thus conclude that this snark is frabjous (for more details on frabjous evaluation, see Section 2.4).

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