How to read a scientific paper in just three steps

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:5 mins read
Reading on paper is an old school way to annotate
and highlight the most interesting elements

For a scientist, reading is a must responsibility in the modern world of information, this task allows us to update the state of the art of the current research. For example, the objective of my work is to reproduce and improve antimony sulfo-selenide thin-film solar cells. Therefore, the first thing I did before experimental research It was to read the updated literature. As I am in touch with the author of the paper of interest I asked him about it’s last published paper where their group develops Sb-S-Se photovoltaic mini-module prototypes. 

P.K. Nair*, J.D.G. Sánchez, L.G. Martínez, P.Y.G. Ayala, A.K.M. Peñaloza, A.B. León, Y.C. García, J. Campos Álvarez, M.T.S. Nair, Chemically Deposited Antimony Sulfide Selenide Thin Film Photovoltaic Prototype Modules, ECS J. Solid State Sci. Technol. 8 (2019) Q89–Q95. doi:10.1149/2.0101906jss.

To fully understand, I almost read a scientific paper three times:

  • First: Print it or read it on PDF (Mendeley could help), the important thing here is to read from the beginning to the end as soon as possible.
  • Second: Make annotations for later discussion and highlights from the most important elements you can find on the text.
  • Third: Write a resume, this will allow you to save the essential information in the same notebook of literature review. I prefer to write it on the Blogspot or a note on the Evernote app following the next template.

Read more, to discover the structure or template for paper review, here you are going to write just the notes and highlighted parts. This is my way to learn fast. If you have an alternate strategy please feel free to share it in the comments section.

Template for the literature review : 

Reviewer: Jesús Capistrán Martínez 
Information like title, authors, and institute-universities 

The international journal where the manuscript is submitted
Impact Factor:

Describe the main purpose and conclusion of the research 

Keywords to find this paper by a search-engine like Scopus or web-of-science 

Resume of this research: What is the purpose of this research?, How it was do it? , Which is the best result?  

Figures and Tables:
Presented media and information, this info helps to propose a new manuscript.


Jesus Capistran

Developing thin-film solar cells

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