What does your scholarly writing do?
Treat, examine, consider, take into consideration, look at...
That's a good start. But those words simply name your subject matter!
Explain, account for, clarify, give an account of...
Ok. You're not only treating, but explaining; that's better.
Narratiing, tracing the trajectory of, telling a story, summarizing, paraphrasing
Now there's a forward movement, a momentum, a taking into consideration of other scholars' work. Beware of merely summarizing too much, though. It sounds rather dull.
Problematizing, analyzing, calling into question, re-evaluating, etc...
A more critical scrutiny than a mere treatment or consideration. What's the next level. An even more precise vocabulary for describing your particular task.
Look over a paper you wrote a year ago, with the proper perspective time gives. Which of these words do you use? Could you have done better work by conceiving of what your set of tasks is in more precise and descriptive language?
Here's a post from 2008, back by popular demand. It should have been on Stupid Motivational Tricks, but that blog did not yet exist: