Commentaries on Readings
To introduce you to research methods and to expose you to cutting-edge
research, a portion of this course is devoted to discussing research papers.
To help direct class
discussion, everyone is
expected to submit a commentary on assigned papers. This aspect of the class will culminate in the peer-reviewing assignment towards the end of the semester.
Critiquing a Paper
Your commentary should
not primarily summarize/reiterate the paper.
Instead, present your deeper understanding and critical analysis.
Examples of questions that you might address are:
- What problem does this paper solve, and what are the strengths and
limitations of its approach?
- Is the evaluation fair? Does it achieve it support the stated
goals of the paper?
- Does the method described seem mature enough to use in real
Why or why not? What applications seem particularly amenable to this
- What good ideas does the problem formulation, the solution, the
or the research method contain that could be applied elsewhere?
- What would be good follow-on projects and why?
- Are the paper's underlying assumptions valid?
- Which important issues in the field does this paper illuminate
- Did the paper provide a clear enough and detailed enough
description of the proposed methods for you to be able to implement
them? If not, where is additional clarification or detail needed?
Avoid unsupported value judgments, like ``I liked...''
or ``I disagreed with...'' If you make judgments of this sort,
explain why you liked or disagreed with the point you describe.
I do not expect you to be able to fully understand the
paper in great depth. Even just "skimming" the paper (see "How to read a Computer Science research paper") allows
you to do the following:
- Address the points in the short "How to read a research paper"
and/or the points above.
- Organize similarities/differences with R&N like a Venn Diagram
- State one SIMILARITY and one DIFFERENCE between the paper and the relevant chapter in R&N.
The goal is to connect your paper reading experience to our classroom experience.
Suggest at least one point for discussion.
Rate whether you think the paper is a theoretical, position, engineering, and/or empirical paper.
Rate the paper on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best) and justify your rating in one sentence.
NOTE: Do not spend huge amounts of time on this! Since the papers often talk about things not covered by R&N (either at this point
in the semester, or at all), your job will often be more of an exercise
in deciding "whether a research paper is good", without fully understanding everything!
This is actually an important real-world skill useful for peer reviewing.
Submit your contribution to the appropriate discussion board forum in
CourseWeb, no later than
24 hours before the relevant class. Thus, if the paper is to be
presented at Monday's class, you need to post by Sunday at 11:30 am (or earlier).
When you are the discussion leader, you are not required to submit a commentary (although you are welcome to).