Thursday, March 7, 2013

How To Read A Research Paper

The following is a summary for a paper written by S. Keshav from University of Waterloo. It presents a methodology for reading research papers with the aim of learning, reviewing or writing a literature survey.


The paper discusses the three-pass method. The first-pass allows getting a general idea about the paper. The second-pass should allow grasping of the paper content. The third-pass allows understanding the paper in-depth.

The first-pass: (Estimated : 5 Minutes)
- Read title,abstract,introduction
- Read section and subsection headings
- Glance at the mathematical content
- Read conclusion
- Glance over references

The second-pass: (Estimated : 1 hr)
- Ignore details of proofs
- Understand figures,diagrams,graphs
- Mark relevant unread references for background information

The third-pass: (Estimated : 5 hr beginner, 1 hr experienced)
- Fully understand the paper
- Virtually be able to re-implement the paper
- Identify and challenge all assumptions
- Able to present the idea yourself
- Able to reconstruct the entire structure of the paper from memory

Reference: 
S. Keshav. 2007. How to read a paper. SIGCOMM Comput. Commun. Rev. 37, 3 (July 2007), 83-84.

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