How to Read a Paper

How to Read a Paper by S. Keshav.


Researchers spend a great deal of time reading research papers. However, this skill is rarely taught, leading to much wasted effort. This article outlines a practical and efficient three-pass method for reading research papers. I also describe how to use this method to do a literature survey.

Sean Cribbs mentions this paper in: The Refreshingly Rewarding Realm of Research Papers but it is important enough for a separate post.

You should keep a copy of it at hand until the three-pass method becomes habit.

Other resources that Keshav mentions:

T. Roscoe, Writing Reviews for Systems Conferences

H. Schulzrinne, Writing Technical Articles

G.M. Whitesides, Whitesides’ Group: Writing a Paper (updated URL)

All three are fairly short and well worth your time to read and re-read.

Experienced writers as well!

After more than thirty years of professional writing I still benefit from well-written writing/editing advice.

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