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How To Read a Research Paper

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Research Papers uPrimary form in which research results are disseminated in computer science uConference papers (shorter) uJournal papers (longer) Often the complete version of a conference paper May come out several years after the conference paper

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Reading a Paper Critically uUnderstand the problem uUnderstand the proposed solution uUnderstand competing approaches / designs uEvaluate the paper uPeer review is the cornerstone of the scientific publishing process

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Why? uLearn to do research uLearn to think critically about quality of research papers Someone will be thinking critically about your own work! In any discipline, there are fads and there are lasting ideas… learn to tell the difference! uGain perspective uKey issue: what are the questions to ask?

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Evaluating a Paper uWhat is the problem being solved? Is it important? Relevant? Why? What is the prior work in this area? uIs the proposed solution clever? Cleverness is orthogonal to importance! uAre the assumptions and model reasonable? uImpact Easier to evaluate for older papers Does other work build on it? Do other papers uses techniques and solutions proposed in this paper?

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Evaluation Process uRead slowly, take notes as you read Question assumptions, importance of the problem Write questions to track what you don’t understand uSometimes what is not in the paper is more important than what is in it Is there something the authors have overlooked? uDon’t let ideas or design details pass until you understand them! uDo not assume the paper is correct, even if published in a prestigious peer-reviewed venue

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Ground Rules uTry to understand uDon’t be afraid to ask uBe constructive uBe polite uDon’t be afraid to criticize (constructively!)

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In This Course uWe will give you a research paper to read uThis paper is unpublished (it has been submitted and is currently under review) Treat it as confidential Do not show it to anyone outside of this class uPut yourself in the mind of a reviewer uOn March 23, we will discuss it in class Your opinions Ray’s opinion My own opinion

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