This brief list of guidelines is meant to help you with reading, reviewing, and presenting research papers, in this class and beyond. It does not intend to be exhaustive. Most important: think deeply about the papers we read, and try to learn from them as much as possible (and then even more). If you do not understand something, we should discuss it and dissect it together. Whatever you think others understand, they understand less (instructor included), but together we will get it.
Reading and Reviewing Guidelines
- Identify the key questions the paper studies, and the answers it provides to these questions.
- Consider the challenges of the problem or scenario studied, and how the paper’s approach addresses them.
- Deconstruct the formal and technical parts to understand their fine details. Note to yourself aspects that are not clear to you.
- When reviewing the paper, start with 1–2 sentences summarizing what the paper is about.
- Continue with the strength of the paper. Outline its contribution, and your main takeaways. What did you learn?
- Highlight shortcomings and limitations. Please focus on weaknesses that fundamental to the method. Unlike conference or journal reviewing, this part is intended for your understanding and discussion. No one is going to fix the paper following your comments.
- Try to suggest ways to address the paper’s limitations. Any idea is welcome, and will contribute to the discussion.
- Suggest questions for discussion in class. As part of the discussion in class, you are asked to raise these questions during the class.
- Think methodologically about your presentation. Unlike an exciting thriller, presenting a research work should not include twists, turns and surprises. Please provide a summary of your presentation at the beginning. A good presentation is one where each slide just makes absolute sense when it appears.
- Use examples throughout your talk. If you can find a single running example that reflects all the main points your want to discuss, use it, and at the end maybe show a few more examples.
- You should find the presentation format that fits you and the paper best. For example, you can prepare a small slide deck to take us through the paper. Alternatively, you can share your screen and go through the paper, annotating it together with us.
- Plan and (at least briefly) practice your presentation ahead. View your presentation critically. Does it clearly state your understanding of the problem studied in the paper? Does it explain the core aspects of the approach? Does it highlight the main results and takeaways?
- Make sure to raise plenty of questions and discussion points throughout your presentation, and then highlight them at the end to kick start the discussion.
- You should read the reviews posted by the other students before the class. Incorporate their questions and the main point that are not clear in your presentation. You do not have to provide answers. Your goal is to provide a solid base for a deep discussion.
- It is highly recommended to show examples from the data used in the paper. Try to highlight both the strengths and weaknesses (if exist) of the data and task. If the paper has an online, please use it.