DRMacIver's Notebook

Reading a Paper

Reading a Paper

I mentioned this system in passing before but thought it would worth noting down explicitly and commenting on some of its reasoning.

When trying to decide whether to do a close reading of a paper I’ve started using a points based system. Ideally I should be able to evaluate this score in about 10 minutes of reading maximum.

I ask three questions:

Each question gets a score from -1 to 2, with -1 meaning unusually bad and 2 meaning among the best I’ve seen recently in that category. These scores are added together to get a total score for the paper. A paper with a score of 2 or higher gets read in more detail.

The scoring is slightly odd but basically the reasoning is this gives the following combinations worth reading:

In particular a paper has to be doing well on two of these characteristics or amazingly on one of them in order to be worth reading.

While doing the initial casual reading towards, one thing I make sure to do is note anywhere I’m confused and then move on as quickly as possible. When doing the second reading I start with those points.