A brief recap from Tia Newhall of tips
for reading research papers.
Start keeping track of all the papers you have read in a bibtex
format. You can store your notes about the paper in a field called
Annote. If you have a mac, there is an awesome utility that helps you
do this called BibDesk.
JabRef is a useful tool
written in Java.
I recommend that you write your reviews in latex. Your final report
will need to be in a format that is easiest to do with latex. See the department wiki page
on latex to get started. Additionally, the latex source of my
example review is also provided below.
These requirements are also listed in the syllabus tab. Each review
should be one to two pages and cover the following questions about the
- What problem did the paper address? Who is the audience?
- Is it important/interesting? What was the context for the paper?
Why should the audience care?
- What is the approach used to solve the problem?
- How does the paper support or otherwise justify the conclusions
- What are the strengths of the paper?
- What are its weaknesses?
- What problems are explicitly or implicitly left as future
The detail in the example review below is what you will need in the
review you present in class. Your weekly review (when someone else is
presenting) will follow the same format, but you only need to do ONE
of the following:
- place this paper in context of papers we haven't already read in
class by actually skimming some of those papers and then citing them
as appropriate in your review. (In the example, see the second
paragraph for the second question).
- provide an example to illustrate the approach
- generate a number of future research questions that were not
specified explicitly in the paper.
All three of the above activities are quite useful when reviewing a
paper, but do take time.
Here is an example review for Lamport's 1974 paper, "The parallel execution
of DO loops