1. What do I need?
• Printed copy of paper
• Pencil, pen
• Tablet device/computer
with PDF software
capable of allowing
• PDF copy of paper
What do I need?
• Healthy dose of skepticism
2. Read the paper
• Critical thinking process
• Don’t assume the authors are always correct.
• Be skeptical – apply the rigours of the
scientific model to all research
Some questions to ask
• If the authors attempt to solve a problem, are
they solving the right problem?
• What are the limitations of the solution (including
limitations the authors might not have noticed or
• Are there other solutions the authors do not
seem to have considered?
• What are the good ideas in this paper?
Some more questions
• Are the assumptions the authors make
• Is the logic of the paper clear and justiﬁable,
given the assumptions, or is there a ﬂaw in the
• If the authors present data, did they gather the
right data to substantiate their argument?
• Did they gather and interpret the data in the
Even more questions
• Would other data or other means of collection of
data be more compelling?
• Can the results or ideas be generalised to wider
• Are there improvements that might make
• If you were going to start doing research from
this paper, what would be the next thing you
• Make notes
• Go through the references in the paper
• Highlight the key points
• Highlight key data
• Highlight anything questionable
• Authors put their research into context
• Make a case for what they’re doing, why
they’re doing it and why it’s important
• A brief overview of prior related research
• Identify gaps in knowledge that they hope to