I would like to refer a reader in my research text to the source of information. I wrote in my thesis: "confer Proposition X" or "confer Section A". However, the reviewers suggested I should use instead something like "we refer the reader to Proposition X". I would like to avoid this long form, as I refer a reader throughout the text a lot.

What would be the best way to refer a reader to the source of information using a short expression, ideally a single verb?

Let X be some source of information. My thoughts for several verbs are as follows:

  • confer X: with this usage a reader may rather anticipate a discussion with some animate object as opposed to see some static source of information. Alternatively, confer is used to refer to the text for the purpose of making a comparison, but not without it.
  • see X: the right meaning to refer a reader to the source of information, but it sounds less academic,
  • consult X: sounds more academic and can refer a reader to the static source of information.

Is my reasoning about the meaning and connotation of the verbs correct? Can you think of some better verb to refer a reader to the source of information?


"See" or "read" would be my first suggestions. "See" is commonly used for references in academic literature. Additionally, don't worry too much about sounding academic. This usually means replacing an easy to read Anglo-Saxon word or phrase with a Latin/Greek one. If you're writing for a thesis I guess you're using a lot of Latin/Greek words already, and readability is important too.

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