I will be doing an Honours in Commerce next year at a GO8 university.

This is essentially a stepping stone into a pathway to academia (or sometimes a resume booster for getting into industry).

It will be my first time getting an exposure to reading and researching academic articles, and I was wondering if there was some sort of guide or standard to researching and reading academic papers, particularly in finance and economics.

In essence, I was hoping to find something of a similar nature to this guide on studying university level mathematics.

I feel this question may be received as vague, thus I will give an example:

suppose I am looking for research inspiration, for instance. Then, in searching it would (perhaps obviously, or perhaps I am entirely wrong) not be the best idea to read articles and thoroughly understand every single detail of each and every one of them, but rather, read articles and see where there are knowledge gaps and potential for future research.

  • there is surely a methodology to roughly follow or guide or book out there which helps you become/build the skills to be a good/more efficient/effective researcher?

any help is appreciated.

  • 1
    I'm not sure whether this post is within the scope of a SE site - see the help center. This community has generally been against "big list" questions, except in a few specific instances (as discussed on Academia Meta). We'll see if anybody weighs in with close votes, but in the meantime I've converted this question to community wiki status (which big list questions - if they are deemed on topic by the community - should be.)
    – ff524
    Dec 14, 2015 at 6:36
  • (You might consider asking proactively about this on Academia Meta - that's usually the best course of action is a question is really too open ended for the SE format, but seems to be exception-worthy.)
    – ff524
    Dec 14, 2015 at 6:42
  • Since you're looking for recommendations, you could check your library for a copy of Cargill & O'Connor, "Writing Scientific Research Articles". Yes, it's about writing and not reading, but the Chapters 1 and 2 are dedicated to how research papers should be structured, so it's useful also for your purpose. Dec 14, 2015 at 8:33

3 Answers 3


These are things I found useful I don't have enough reputation for links, but you will be able to find them

Standalone articles/talks/papers/blogposts:

You and Tour Research by Richard Hamming http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~robins/YouAndYourResearch.html

10 Things You Should Know Before Starting A PhD from Next Scientist http://www.nextscientist.com/graduate-school-advice-series-starting-phd/ especially the point that your job is to write papers

The care and maintenance of your adviser by Hugh Kearns and Maria Gardiner

The illustrated guide to a Ph.D.by Matt Might

Advice books for scientist

Advice for a Young Investigator by Ramon Cajal, Old but good and everything written there is still relevant. Mostly about important mindsets, personality traits and skills for success in science. It's good to realize that in 1897 common concern of new grad students were that The most important problems are already solved.

Crafting Your Research Future: A Guide to Successful Master's and Ph.D. Degrees in Science & Engineering By Ling and Yang, Has very concrete guides for finding a research gaps, branding yourself, reading papers etc

Books not necessarily for scientist

So Good They Can't Ignore You by Call Newport, about developing valuable skills

Valuable blogs

Next scientist

Matt Might

Thesis whisperer

Fumbling Toward Tenure

  • OP here (posted as guest), thanks for this, will check them out
    – elbarto
    Dec 15, 2015 at 0:17

I have found "The craft of research" to be a very well written book. http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/C/bo5821939.html

It has a few chapters which guides the thought process of research, along with interesting written examples of different ways to frame a hypothesis in an academic setting. This is valuable as it shows there is a difference between making a statement and arguing a hypothesis in the context of your field.


Before reading an article, you should know some information about journal where is this paper published, this means, that you know from what field is that article ( applied, basic, innovative), and to conclude via IF rating or scimago position of that paper so you can predict what amount of foreknowledge is necessary (most of the time(not always) higher reputation of paper, more complex and innovative research could be found). Than, you should read abstract, introduction and discussion. Abstract and introduction will tell you about amount of knowledge that you acquired during your student life ( or life in general, either formal or informal)-this mean it is clear to you what is origin of that paper, how researchers come to point of conducting that research. if you dont have sufficient understanding, than you will need to read previous papers also!!! Discussion will tell you if you can recognise patterns and methodology used in that paper, order to get to some conclusion, (new finding, to prove hypothesis, etc) So when you know introduction, than you should have idea in your mind what method and research plan they will use or implement, next you should move on methodology and results and see how is their design different from yours, and you should try to understand why they use that methodology, is it adequate for their purpose and critically to evaluate importance of every step in their work, as whole work, of course.

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