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In academic papers the introduction usually contains a description of the outline of the paper, i.e. a description of the structure of the paper, such as a description of what goes in what section. In writing such a description one might want to interpose the cross references to sections instead of having them in the main flow of sentences, e.g. to write "I will start out with an introduction (section 1)" instead of "I'll start out with an introduction in section 1". What are the proper/best ways to do this?

Here's two examples. If parentheses are used to interpose the cross references to sections, then the parentheses might be distracting (especially if they occur frequently):

I will start out with an introduction (section 1). After that I'll present some additional background (section 2). Then I'll present my position (section 3), argue for it (section 4) and present some of its applications (section 5). Finally, I'll sum up the main points (section 6).

If commas are used, then the disposition might get confusing (e.g. by confusing the list and the interpositions in the second sentence):

I will start out with an introduction, section 1. After that I'll present some additional background, section 2. Then I'll present my position, section 3, argue for it, section 4, and present some of its applications, section 5. Finally, I'll sum up the main points, section 6.

There might be other possible constructions, e.g. by use of semicolons or dashes.

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The notion that one can "interpose" without "mentioning" (per your comment to Hellion) may be technically true, but the distinction seems artificial, unnecessary, and not well defined. -1 –  jwpat7 Oct 4 '11 at 16:21
    
@jwpat7 Maybe I was unclear. The distinction between explicitly mentioning and interposing I take to be the difference between including in the main sentence and including it by interposing it, e.g. parenthetically. I'm not trying to do something absurd such as mentioning something and not mentioning something at the same time (i.e. doing something contradictory) but merely asking for a technique of expressing something properly outside of the main flow of a sentence. –  N.N. Oct 4 '11 at 16:28
    
A question and two comments: (a) why don't you want to explicitly mention the sections? (b) I think the reason the above two paragraphs don't feel right is that you're not spending enough time describing each section; 3, 4, and 5 come too close together. (c) I like parentheses a lot better than commas in your examples. You could also use em-dashes, but I'm afraid those are all the possible alternatives. –  Peter Shor Oct 4 '11 at 16:36
    
@PeterShor I want to the passage to be possible to read while the interpositions are ignored and at the same time include the "section x" phrases such that they can be used as links and as something similar to a table of contents. –  N.N. Oct 4 '11 at 16:41
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Is this better? "I will start out with an introduction—section 1. After that I'll present some additional background—section 2. Then I'll present my position—section 3; argue for it—section 4; and present some of its applications—section 5. Finally, I'll sum up the main points—section 6." –  Peter Shor Oct 4 '11 at 16:43
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1 Answer

If you really feel the need to include that in such a linear structure, then I'd go with incorporating your section information right into the main sentence, thus:

I'll start out with an introduction in section 1. In section 2, I'll present some additional background. Then in section 3 I'll present my position, argue for it in section 4, and present some of its applications in section 5. Finally, in section 6 I'll sum up the main points.

However, there are few enough parts to this that it really seems unnecessary to lay out your section numbering information so explicitly.

I'll start out with an introduction, then provide some additional background. Next I'll present my position, argue for it, and give some of its applications. Finally, I'll sum up the main points.

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Thanks for your answer. I'm afraid your first suggestion is explicitly mentioning the sections in the main sentence (as you say) and this is what I want to avoid. Your second example is bad if I want to use the section names as obvious links to the sections in a pdf (e.g. by use of the package hyperref and its command \autoref). –  N.N. Oct 4 '11 at 15:26
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