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Keep in mind it is not the only way, many techniques exist and as you read more and more I am sure you will find your own unique style. This guide is broken down as follows:. Reading papers certainly builds character because It often takes many hours and there is no guarantee you walk away with the whole story. This is not to disparage you, but merely to be open and transparent. Reading papers is difficult, there are no two ways about it. Advances in fields such as machine learning, deep learning, data science, databases, and data engineering often come in the form of academic research, whose language is that of academic papers.

These all came out of research, and yes they all have papers. Also, consider that there are many papers on the application and use of these techniques and when you are trying to solve a specific problem, these papers can be critical. Beyond staying current with research it is also worth traveling to the past and giving older papers a read. You will learn so much. I promise. Looking at the field of deep learning it seems as though a new critical paper is coming out every few days or weeks. The only way to stay on top of it is to get a hold of the paper and give it a read.

Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Academic Writing Style

Scientific Paper inception! Results of Chi-square tests are indicated on the left hand side. B: The mean importance rank of sections as a function of career stage. Asterisks above data points indicate significant differences in response compared with the previous career stage as determined by Mann-Whitney post-hoc tests. One unsurprising result indicates the further an academic progresses into their career, the easier they find each section of a paper to read.

An interesting point is how the various career stages view the importance of each section. It also means they know their field very well, thereofore, the introduction and abstract have less importance. Early stage PhD students find the methods, results, and figures fairly difficult to understand. This makes perfect sense as those are the areas of a paper that require the most knowledge of a field to get through.


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You are likely to have a similar experience. What is it exactly that makes going through this process so difficult and time consuming? Clearly there is a lot to consider when reading a paper. Time to lighten the mood. Here is a hilarious article written on the horrors of reading papers by Dr. Adam Ruben from Science.


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  2. Step 1: Identify the paragraph’s purpose.
  3. Organizing Academic Research Papers: 8. The Discussion.
  4. It shows even scientists can agree that papers are both difficult to read and given how dense they are, will keep you regular. Think about this, the more papers you read, the more you will learn and the faster this process of reading becomes. Trends start cropping up into plain view, and you begin to gain insight into the scientific method , understand what certain authors and groups are working on, and form an appreciation for the field you are learning about.

    How to Write a Research Paper

    Over time all of this knowledge and skill builds into your ability to read papers quicker, more efficiently and with greater success. Learning to read papers is akin to learning to eat. It is messy at first, and your palette is not very well developed. Good news here. The overwhelming majority of papers follow, more or less, the same convention of organization:. Simply starting to read from page one to the end will probably do you no good.

    Beyond retaining limited information, you will be exhausted and have gained very little for the tremendous effort. This is where many people stop. Do plan to spend anywhere from 3—6 hours to really digest a paper, remember they are very dense! Be ready and willing to make several passes through the paper, each time looking to extract different information and understanding. And please, do yourself a favor and do not read the paper front to end on your first pass. Below are two lists. I typically add more specific questions depending on the paper.

    As mentioned above, here is a general list of questions to help guide you.

    Choosing a Title - Organizing Academic Research Papers - Research Guides at Sacred Heart University

    If you can answer these you have a solid understanding of the paper, at least to where you can communicate intelligently about it to others. I recommend finding people either in person or online to discuss the paper. Start a journal club with a goal of getting through 1—2 papers a month. The amount of extra insight I have gained from discussing a paper with a friend is immense. He introduces and explores a three phrase approach that might be of some interest to you.

    How to Write a Research Paper

    Give it a read as well! You can find papers primarily from several sources:. As you begin to read more papers you are going to want to store them somewhere. Tossing PDFs into a folder on your drive is all well and good, but there are creature comforts missing. Most researchers and grad students use a reference manager. Zotero and Mendeley are very popular, I like Zotero.

    Importance of a Good Discussion

    Recently, I have been using PaperPile. It has a simple, refreshing user interface, and it has a really good tagging and folder hierarchy system. I can also annotate PDFs in my browser and build citation lists when I write. You get a lot of these features with almost any reference manager, but I happen to like PaperPile best. A reference manager will quickly become your best friend as you collect and read more and more papers. If nothing can be said against an idea, it is probably obvious or vacuous. And if too much can be said against it, it's time for another thesis.

    By not indicating an awareness of possible objections, you might seem to be hiding something, and your argument will be weaker as a consequence. You should also become familiar with the various fallacies that can undermine an argument—the "straw man" fallacy, fallacies of causation and of analogy, etc. The Structure of Argument. The heart of the academic essay is persuasion, and the structure of your argument plays a vital role in this.

    To persuade, you must set the stage, provide a context, and decide how to reveal your evidence. Of course, if you are addressing a community of specialists, some aspects of a shared context can be taken for granted. But clarity is always a virtue. The essay's objective should be described swiftly, by posing a question that will lead to your thesis, or making a thesis statement. There is considerable flexibility about when and where this happens, but within the first page or two, we should know where we are going, even if some welcome suspense is preserved.

    In the body of the paper, merely listing evidence without any discernible logic of presentation is a common mistake. What might suffice in conversation is too informal for an essay.


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    If the point being made is lost in a welter of specifics, the argument falters. The most common argumentative structure in English prose is deductive: starting off with a generalization or assertion, and then providing support for it.