I'm working with some very basic free-radical initiated polymerization reactions. For the most part, I just follow a recipe I'm given (by a member of my group or the broader literature), it works, and I don't worry too much about the chemistry of why it works. Clearly, that will only work for so long, and I'd like to better understand the chemistry of what I'm doing.
So what general rules can I use to predict what kind of initiator will polymerize a given monomer?
To give a concrete example of what I mean: I know that some persulfate-based initiators will polymerize some acrylamide-based monomers. Can I generalize that to all persulfate initiators and all acrylamide monomers? What about methacrylamides? What about styrenes? Essentially, at what point have I changed the reactants so much that the chemistry doesn't work anymore?
Odian's Principles of Polymerization (4th ed) reviews some things that have been done, but doesn't discuss any general rules. Are there other good sources for this information?
EDIT: I am looking specifically for chemical reasons. Are some initiators better at reacting with some monomers? Are there any issues like side reactions I should take into account?
EDIT(2): from @Ben Norris's answer and the ensuing comments, it sounds like, as long as I can get the initiator to radicalize, and everything is soluble in the solvent, then I will be able to use any initiator with any monomer. Is that correct? I've found another textbook on this, Polymer Chemistry: An Introduction by Malcom Stevens, and that seems to support this.