How to write a (short) analysis of a scientific paper: Think of the paper you write as an analysis aimed at someone who has not necessarily read the paper. We want to see that YOU understand what the paper is saying (that’s why we don’t want you to include only critique. Also, note that an analysis (critique) need NOT be negative. If the paper is stellar, you might be hard pressed to find something negative to say; if so, comment on the ways in which the paper is excellent!
To help you approach the assignment systematically, we’d like you to follow the template below (at least until we think you are good enough at this to deviate from the template).
Our suggested organization:
- Your introductory paragraph should be an introduction to your analysis, and include a very brief summary of the paper, including its significance/motivation/context and findings/conclusions/recommendations. You might have a brief overview of your own critique – is it generally a good paper? what is the best thing about the paper? what is the worst? Overall, you will be trying to say here whether the author(s) provide adequate evidence to convince you of the findings, whether you think the paper is generally coherent/well-written. you could add whether you think the paper is appropriate for the audience (but this is something you might not know much about – yet! Be sure you say what problem the authors are solving.
- Very briefly describe the approach, including what prior work had been done and where this work fits.
- Describe what work the authors did to create their software or research outcome.
- Results and conclusions. What are the major results of the work? What conclusions were drawn? What (management) recommendations (if any) made? What future or follow-on work suggested? Your analysis of this should be whether the author convinced you of his/her conclusions. Were the evidence sufficient?
- Your conclusions. In your estimation, overall, is this a good or bad paper? Would you recommend it to others? to whom? Justify your conclusions by focusing on the main (overall) points in your analysis/critique. As a summary, you might say what you suggest as future or follow-on work to this. (just because there remains work to be done, btw, does not mean the paper was a bad one; a paper that suggests lots of additional work might be fabulous!)