The Related Work section of an academic paper is often the section that graduate students like writing the least. But it is also one of the most important sections to nail as the paper heads out for review. The Related Work section serves many purposes, several of which relate directly to reviewing:
- The person handling the submission will use the referenced papers to identify good reviewers,
- Reviewers will look at the references to confirm that the submission cites the appropriate work,
- Everyone will use the section to understand the paper's contributions given the state of existing research, and
- Future researchers will look to the Related Work section to identify other papers they should read.