CIS 650 - Reading a Research Paper
A really important skill is learning to critically read a technical work (research paper, proposal, etc.).
Here are some questions to ask yourself when reading a paper. (Other than thinking about how to build upon the work in the paper,
most are relevant for assessing the quality of the paper and for writing reviews!)
- What is the problem the paper is trying to tackle?
- ... as the authors explain the problem and its relevance?
- ... Can you think of a broader domain where it's applicable?
- How do the authors frame the introduction to make the problem compelling?
- What is hard about the problem (and why hasn't it been solved before... or has it)?
- What new tool, technique, or state of affairs makes it possible to solve the problem?
- Is this paper primarily about a "hammer" (new technique), "nail" (new problem for old technique), new foundational or theoretical topic, or experimental study?
- What is a brief overview of the main idea(s), algorithm(s), or architecture?
- What is the hypothesis of the work, and questions need to be asked to evaluate the success of the contribution?
- What experiments are actually run?
- Do the experiments answer the key questions from above?
- How believable are the experimental settings, e.g., workload, implementation, etc.?
- Did the authors systematically investigate the different parameters affecting their solution?
- How well was the paper written? Was it clear?
- Where could one build upon the paper's contributions?
- Is there a way the work could be leveraged in your own work?