How to Read Research Papers

When you read a research paper, your goal should be to try and understand its contributions and limitations. Read it critically, remembering that a person wrote this that has a particular reason for writing the paper. They may be trying to push a particular approach, or technology. Even if they are trying to be as balanced possible, they are still likely to introduce biases. So, I have developed a short list of questions I try to keep in mind whenever I read a paper. We’ll try to ask these questions when we discuss the papers in class.
  1. What is the problem (specifically what does it solve)?
  2. What assumptions are made?
  3. Who are the intended users of the research?
  4. Have those users been involved in the design or evaluation of the work (i.e., is the solution usable?)
  5. Are there unanswered questions?
  6. Is the solution scalable (how much data does it work with)?
  7. Is the solution generalizable (does the solution work in other domains)?