How to read the unreadable papers?

Reading papers could be triggered by a certain purpose, your purpose will affect to how they should read, in order to optimize your time and energy. There are some tips from me, when you catch up with a lot of papers, of course with the variance of purposes.

  • First of all, please make sure that you downloaded from an eligible journal sources repository, in my major (engineering) it could be Science Direct, Springer Link, IEEE or ACM. A white paper, which contains no headings on top of the paper, may become your reference, but it indicates that the paper has not published yet in anywhere. I don’t mean that it is a bad paper; it could be a good one, yet no journal/conference as a judgmental party to make sure about its eligibility.
  • One of the novelty judgments can be found by the time it published, furthermore usually you can see it on the top of paper. FYI, it needs almost 5 months-1.5 years to submit in a good international journal, so if that is listed on 2010, we may conclude that the research was conducted about 2008-2009. Some of resources said that the papers should be taken within 5 years from now, even though it means that you already late about 6-7 years from now.
  • Please be careful with ‘article in press‘ notation, it could be meaning anything. In addition, you can found the explanation below:

Articles in Press (articles that have been accepted for publication but which have not been formally published and will not yet have the complete volume/issue/page information) that include errors, or are discovered to be accidental duplicates of other published article(s), or are determined to violate our journal publishing ethics guidelines in the view of the editors, may be “Withdrawn” from Science Direct.

  • Please note it to your mind, that paper is just tenths of the hundreds pages of person’s research, it’s quite short if you compare to the real research that have been done by the authors. It’s obvious that they do not write fully explanation on it, you should learn it by yourself through other papers/books.
  • Besides I have mentioned above, there is another evidence to judge the paper eligibility. The Reference List is talk more than the references they have been used. The longer it is, the more comprehensive their experiments.

Okey, here they are my suggestions to you, according to your first purpose that lead you drown into papers.

 – Looking for an idea to your undergraduate/graduate thesis

Firstly, read the title, is it suitable with your interest? If you think so, please continue to the keywords (below the abstracts). The keywords are the paper’s title contractions, so if you are not really sure about the title you can look to these three musketeers words.

After you read the keywords, please read all the abstracts, for minimizing your time and effort to understand all of the paper’s contents. The good abstracts usually consist of three parts in one paragraph, separated by dots: Research’s position between the others similar research; Methods and tests that have been done; Results of their experiments. So, if you have read the abstract’s sentences one by one, you definitely read all the important features of that paper. Although, it is hard to understand what the authors mean, isn’t it?

The most valuable part to look for a new idea took place on the end of the paper, before the references list of course. It is a conclusion chapter; usually in the last paragraph of it, the authors will reveal a little secret about their future research/discussion or the possibility of another method that could be works. Not all the papers contain these clues, as not all the authors are generous enough to write it. If you found this one, please keep it carefully, in case you may need it later.

From this part hopefully you can find your idea to do your research, I think it would be better if you take a step twice faster because not only you that have read that papers.

– As a reference (Introductory part)

For adding eligibility to your writings in thesis, research reports or papers, usually they will look for another similar research to strengthen their position, as it quite impossible that you conduct your research without any previous experiments done by others before. In your introduction part, it should be written all of your references that have been read by you. The thicker your introduction part, the more previous supporting references you have understood.

Please go to the last part; yes it is the reference list of your candidate reference paper, please tick the most suitable paper titles, and please remember the name or the number of them. Look for it in the second, third or fourth paragraph (after introduction heading), what did it state or explain? If you find something useful, you can quote it to your research, but it is better if you download the ticked references and read it thoroughly by yourself. Yeah, as long as it written by human not by God, it possibly contain any error or digression perception.

– As a reference (Literature Review part)

Well, I don’t suggest you to look for a paper to meet this need, because books are always the best reference for literature review part for your studies. Books are more complete and comprehensive than papers, but if you insist, I will show you where the place to gain this information.

Instead of the introduction part, it’s better to look thoroughly in second, third and fourth paragraph. For a quick look, you can observe the experiments results, in order to choose the best method’s performance. Charts and tables will improve your reading skill without read all of those painful sentences and formulas.

It’s your lucky day, if you find the flowchart to guide how the method’s work, because it’s rarely happened in paper. They prefer writing it at a glance to explaining them in details, because of their maximum pages rule that they must obey.

Well, with these tips hopefully you will optimize your eyes, time and energy to read a paper, you shouldn’t read whole of them. In my case, it will work on Engineering Articles, because I haven’t read and drown into the sociology or history journal. It may be different with my tips.

Good Day everybody!

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