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How To Read a Scientific Research Paper


22 March 2018

How To Read a Scientific Research Paper

Extracting the Essentials


PhD students or researchers starting a new research project or initiating work in an unfamiliar research direction often undertake a scientific literature search in order to inform themselves with respect to a chosen topic. This start-up phase involves wading through and reading scores, if not hundreds, of research papers that have already been published in the area of interest. Reading a large quantity of scientific papers and capturing the essential information from them is a very challenging task. Furthermore, this difficulty only increases with the passage of time as the complexity of literature increases as well as the quantity of publications.

This lecture aims to instruct a starting PhD candidate or researcher on how to read a scientific research paper. By “read” we mean extracting the essential, most important information from a (previously) published scientific conference or journal paper. During the course of a PhD, the candidate will read many research papers containing a vast amount of information. However, it is not possible to remember all of the details presented, nor is it necessary. Here we identify and describe the essential knowledge that is best extracted and summarized when reading a research paper.

Robert S. Laramee, How to Read a Visualization Research Paper: Extracting the Essentials, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications (IEEE CG&A), Vol. 31, No. 3, May/June 2011, pages 78-82

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