Saturday, February 23, 2008

[Reading] How to Read a Paper

The author presents his 'three-pass method' in this paper. To my surprise it is very similar to the method I'm using. I guess after reading enough papers, people tend to read in this way :P

Below I describe the each of his steps, and also each of them in my version.

1 [Keshav]. Read the title, the abstract, the introduction, the conclusion, and the reference list.
1 [Mine]. Read the title, abstract, the reference list, the prior work section, and then the introduction. I skip the conclusion because it has very useful function to me in the following steps. Also if there are slides/videos associated with the paper, I would check them first. These materials are very common in my field.

2 [Keshav]. Check the main body of the paper, the figures and the results. Mark the important cited papers to be survey and skip the proof.
2 [Mine]. Check the main body of the paper,

3 [Keshav]. Try to re-implement work presented in the paper. Identify its true contributions, its weakness, and the possible future work.
3 [Mine]. Try to re-implement work presented in the paper. Specifically, I'd try to convert the whole paper into a short pseudo-code and write in down. In this way I can totally ensure the method presented in this paper is feasible, and more or less understand the time complexity of the proposed method (The timing shown in the paper is not always reliable).

The little trick I have is 'using the conclusion section for relaxing myself.' When performing step 2 or 3, you may get tired for various reasons: bad notation, chaos description, etc. However, the content in the conclusion is somewhat predictable, so you can turn to that section to take a break.

The author also present a method to survey a new research topic. It's relatively trivial and therefore I skip it here.

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