How to Read Scientific Papers: A Discussion with David Evans


Listen to this interview of David Evans, Professor of Computer Science, University of Virginia. We talk about what makes scientific reading different.

David Evans : "Most scientific papers are making some claim. So, the real goal as a reader is to understand, Do I believe them? Have the authors done what's necessary to make that claim and make it convincing? But there's another goal, too, and that is to understand, What can I learn from this paper technically — have the authors done something that might inform work that we're doing — do they have something that might provide understanding or prove useful to projects that we are currently involved in or have had in the backs of our minds. Now, those are two quite different goals for a person's reading, but the structure of a paper — especially a well-written paper — that structure will help the reader figure out where to go to achieve which goal."

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Daniel Shea

I am committed to helping scientists write at their best. To this end, I founded the Graduate Communication Services, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. Here I work in the unique role of textician. Want to know more? Contact me at
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