During the winter semester 2020/21 we meet every Thursday at 13:30 via zoom and discuss a paper together. One student has to prepare and lead the discussion. This implies to prepare a presentation which condenses and summarize the results to the other participants. This presentation is to make sure that everybody understood the methods and the results well enough for discussion.
“Leading the discussion” means to encourage discussion by asking questions, pointing to unclear or interesting parts of the paper, etc. An incomplete, informal “paper checklist” is provided below to help us when reading a paper.
Suggest a paper for discussion
Everybody is allowed (encouraged!) to suggest a paper for discussion. Write an email with your suggestions and I will update the paper list.
In principle you can submit a paper about any topic, but you should pay attention to a couple of points:
- the paper should not be too long (10 pages is good, 15 pages would be an upper limit, with 20 pages the paper should be outstanding).
- without being too simple, the paper should not be overly complicated or addressed to an expert audience.
Selection of the next paper
The selection procedure for the following week will follow three steps:
- voluntary basis (a student asks to present a paper): this is the preferred option. You can ask for any free lesson during the semester!
- democracy: if no paper is selected, I will ask people to express their prefered paper (or I will suggest papers), and we will assign the presenter and the date.
- tyranny: if nothing happens by the day after the last lesson, I will assign a paper and a presenter.
- Is the study innovative or original?
- Does the study challenge existing paradigms or add to existing knowledge?
- is the paper oriented towards a specialist audience? Or a general audience?
- Is the paper written in a clear and easily understandable style?
- Does the title accurately reflect the content of the paper?
- Are the research questions clearly formulated? Where?
- Do the conclusions answer the research questions initially posed?
- Is the work well organized and structured?
- Does the discussion extend beyond the methods and results of the study?
- Is the paper too long / too short?
- Do the data and results support the conclusions?
- Are the methods and data presented in a clear and unambiguous manner? Can other researchers replicate the work done?
- Are the methods of statistical analysis and level of significance appropriate?
We warmly recommend reading the book by Joshua Schimel: Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded (Oxford university press). Or David M Schultz: Eloquent Science. A practical guide to becomig a better Writer, Speaker & Atmospheric Scientist (Springer).