Academic Poll: Paper Torture

I’m sitting here finding new and inventive ways to not write the pedagogical paper I’m working on at the moment. This seems like a good excuse for a poll!

As you can tell from the list of elements, I have scientific papers in mind, here, but other sorts of scholarly work are also fair game. The question is really what you find to be the absolute worst part to write when you’re working on some sort of scholarly publication.

I’m talking specifically about the writing of the text, here. There are a whole host of headaches associated with formatting and the like (my next procrastinatory move will be to install LaTeX, which ought to kill the afternoon…).

For me, the answer is clearly the introduction, and specifically the first paragraph of the introduction. It’s so hard to find a way to lead in to the paper that doesn’t sound ridiculously trite, and isn’t complete fluff.

Once I get that down, the rest of it flows pretty easily. I can generate all the experimental sections of a paper easily, but it’s always a struggle to do the motivation/ literature search/ context-setting stuff at the beginning.