Literature reading made easy: A beginner's guide to understanding research papers
There is no foolproof way for reading a research paper, but you can try a few approaches and then review what works best for you. Here are a few simple tips to start with:
1. Get a quick overview of the central theme
Read the title, keywords, and abstract to understand the paper’s purpose, methods, and main findings. Form a quick assessment of whether the paper would be relevant to you. If still unsure, you may want to lightly skim through the introduction section to understand the research question better and look at the tables, figures, and illustrations.
2. Analyze the paper critically
Once you have decided that a paper is worth reading in its entirety, you should critically analyze the paper to get clear answers to the following questions: “What question is the author trying to answer?”; “Is the question framed appropriately based on the gaps identified by the author in the existing literature?”; “Which methods were used to answer the question?”; “Are the methods appropriate?”; “What are the key results?”; “If any statistical tests are used, are they appropriate and robust?”; “Do the data and results support the conclusions drawn?”; and “What are the limitations of the study?
3. Make notes and summarize
R Discovery is an AI-powered, mobile-based app that searches multiple standard databases storing research literature and finds you the ones most relevant to you. Based on the topic preferences you choose, it finds the top three most relevant research papers for you every day. Moreover, it provides a summary of the key highlights of a research paper so that you can decide easily whether the entire paper is worth it, thus helping you both find and read literature smartly. It is available on the Google Play Store as well as the Apple App Store for free.
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