The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool. – Richard Feynman
It is often helpful to read with questions in mind. This post summarizes a list of questions worthy asking while reading a paper. I would like to make this post a living document about how to read a paper, as I read more materials and gain more understanding of scientific research. The content of this post is largely from the references listed at the end.
- What type of paper is this?
- When was it written?
- Which other papers is it related to? (reference, citation)
- Which theoretical bases were used to analyze the problem?
- Do the assumptions appear to be valid?
- Is the logic of the paper clear and justifiable, given the assumptions, or is there a flaw in the reasoning?
- If the authors present data, did they gather the right data to substantiate their argument, and did they appear to gather it in the correct manner?
- Did they interpret the data in a reasonable manner?
- Would other data be more compelling?
- What part you do not understand?
- What are the paper’s main contributions?
- Is this paper well written?
- Are results shown with error bars, so that conclusions are statistically significant?
- If the authors attempt to solve a problem, are they solving the right problem?
- Are there simple solutions that the author do not seem to have considered?
- What are the limitations of the solution?
- What are the good ideas in this paper?
- Do these ideas have other applications or extensions that the authors might not have thought of?
- Can the good ideas be generalized even further?
- What are the major findings of the paper?
- What surprised you or struck you as interesting?
- What questions are still unanswered?
- Are there possible improvements that might make important practical differences?
- If you were going to start doing research from this paper, what would be the next thing you would do?
- Can you summarize the background in five sentences or less?
- Can you summarize the paper in five sentences or less?
- What is the question that authors started with and what is the answer?
- What is the general and specific question the author is trying to answer?
- What is the scientific contribution of the paper?
- What are the author trying to do to answer the question?
- Do the results answer the specific questions? What do you think they mean?
- Can you draw a diagram for each experiment, showing exactly what the authors did.
- Can you write one or more paragraphs to summarize the results for each experiment, each figure, and each table.
- Are the ideas really novel, or have they appeared before?
- Can you list an outline of the main points of the paper?
- What do you think is the quality of the ideas and its potential impact?
- What do other researchers say about this paper?
- How can I apply this approach in my work?
- How could future studies be improved?
 How to read a paper, S.Keshav, link
 How to read a research paper, link
 How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists, link
 How to read a paper, link
 Efficient reading of papers in science and technology, link
 How to read and review a scientific journal article, link