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I am writing my Ph.D. thesis in mechatronics field. I used some notions from mechanical engineering and control engineering, but my work is mostly about a software solution. As the content is really multidisciplinary, it is possible that some of the readers do not know the even the basics of software-related practices. I want to inform them about the formatting of the text, for example an XML-element looks like <element>, or I have written a class name like Class. Where is the right place to do that? Introduction? And any examples how?

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  • How about an appendix with the details, and a paragraph in the introduction about how you chose to present the software solution. Then, a short sentence can be used (as needed) nearer to any place you think the reader might need a refresher?
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 24, 2016 at 15:23

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It is frequently the case that a scientific work will explicitly introduce its notational conventions to the reader. Sometimes this is done inline, but if there is a significant amount to explain, it's nice to set it aside in an easily identifiable portion of the document with a name like "Notation."

If the conventions will be used throughout the thesis (as it sounds will be the case for you), then a good place to do this is following the introduction, either as a subsection or as its own chapter, depending on the size and complexity of what you write.

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