Questions to ask/answer when reading papers

Updated: Before reading a paper, you should ask and answer by yourself “why you need to read that paper?”, “what do you want to get from the paper?”

You can read more about “How to read a paper” in my previous post (in Vietnamese)

I found that it is helpful to ask and answer following questions when I read papers. When I read a paper, I try to answer as many questions as possible and summarize my answers in a Google Sheets, so that I can read again latter.

  • What did authors do?
  • What is the major research question that the paper addresses?
  • Why did authors do that? (Motivation/Problem Statement)
  • What are main ideas of the paper?
  • What are the novelties of the paper?
  • What are main contributions of the paper?
  • How is the work better than previous work? (in other words, the approach in the paper is better than previous work at what points?)
  • How did authors evaluate the ideas? Is the evaluation method appropriate?
  • What are limitations/controversies of the work?
  • Are assumptions in the paper strong/weak/reasonable?
  • What are possible alternative approaches for the task in the paper?
  • How can you improve the work?
  • What did you learn from the paper?
  • How can you apply the approaches in your paper to your work?
  • What are next papers to read?

Bonus: Lời khuyên về việc đọc paper của một giáo sư người Nhật:

Về cách đọc paper nhanh, tôi đang hướng dẫn sinh viên mình sau khi đọc paper tự trả lời các câu hỏi sau (giống như trả lời câu hỏi trong một kỳ thi): 1) Vấn đề mà paper giải quyết là gì?; 2) Phương pháp giải quyết của paper khác gì so với các phương pháp đã có; 3) Liệt kê các điểm đặc sắc của bài báo.

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