Reviewing Research Papers

To introduce you to research methods (in particular, how to read and review a research paper to critically evaluate the scientific contribution), a portion of this course is devoted to discussing cutting-edge and classic "peer-reviewed" conference papers.

I. Leading the Class Discussion

All students in the class have been associated with a paper relating to a chapter from our syllabus. Once we have concluded the chapter, the student will lead a 15 minute class discussion of their paper, focusing on a critical analysis of the pros and cons of the paper. Your presentation should not summarize the paper as it is assumed that everyone will have already read it.

II. Supporting the Discussion

To help presenters direct class discussions better, everyone is expected to write a set of short reactions for each assigned paper using NB. Your reactions should not summarize the paper. Instead, they should focus on your critical analysis of the paper.

Mandatory requirement: Always contribute (at least) one substantive comment per paper. Your commentss may have a number of forms: (a) You may compare the work to related material from the textbook; (b) You may hypothesize about ways in which the work could have been improved; (c) You may think about ways to expand on the work (conceptually or computationally); (d) You may critique the work, including its conceptual framework, methodology, and/or results.

Other options: Additional substantive comments and/or responses to other posts, as well as descriptions of things you don't understand that you would like the class to discuss, are encouraged.

NOTE: Do not spend huge amounts of time on this! I do not expect you to be able to fully understand the paper in great depth. Since the papers often talk about things not covered by J&M (either at this point in the semester, or at all), your job will often be more of an exercise in "skimming" the paper to decide in what ways it is good and bad, without fully understanding everything! This is actually an important real-world skill useful for peer reviewing.

III. Resources

See "Paper Reading," "Paper Reviewing" and "Giving a Research Talk" resources that were provided for my version of CS 2001. You may also find this guideline for reading a research paper helpful (thanks to Prof. Hwa for this pointer).

IV. To Submit, and Deadlines

Submit your comments no later than 24 hours before the relevant class (i.e. for a Tuesday discussion, you need to post by Monday at 2:30 pm or earlier).

When you are the discussion leader, you are not required to submit a commentary (although you are welcome to).

V. Grading

Reading and reviewing the conference papers will count in a cumulative pass/fall manner, towards the 10% class participation portion of the overall class grade.

When you are one of the discussion leaders, if you lead the discussion adequately you get full credit.

When you are supporting someone else's discussion, if you submit a substantive comment by the deadline, you get full credit. Otherwise, you get a zero (i.e., late assignments receive 0).