Summary: How to Read a Paper
David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo
Waterloo, ON, Canada
Researchers spend a great deal of time reading research pa-
pers. However, this skill is rarely taught, leading to much
wasted effort. This article outlines a practical and efficient
three-pass method for reading research papers. I also de-
scribe how to use this method to do a literature survey.
Categories and Subject Descriptors: A.1 [Introductory
General Terms: Documentation.
Keywords: Paper, Reading, Hints.
Researchers must read papers for several reasons: to re-
view them for a conference or a class, to keep current in
their field, or for a literature survey of a new field. A typi-
cal researcher will likely spend hundreds of hours every year