If you need help with online teaching or other challenges in academia arising from the COVID-19 crisis, we have prepared this FAQ to get you started.
155

Your problem is quite common among researchers. Actually it's not really a problem, being overwhelmed like this is just natural. Me and all my friends and colleagues face it. How I overcame this issue: I try to focus on one paper at a time. Try starting reading the latest research paper on a particular subject and go back chronologically. Print the ...


112

The answers here of Solar Mike and corey979 are correct, but let me point out two additional issues. First, it might be that without your citations you could validly be accused of self plagiarism. Readers of the current work need to be able to trace back the ideas to earlier work. This is why we cite ourselves rather than just reuse old work. Second, if ...


66

You should write down your thoughts now, then get on and do the proper research, before trying to do any experiment, if you wish to be taken seriously. While there is a need for radically different ideas, most research succeeds by following what has been done before ('standing on the shoulders of giants'). It is very unlikely that you will come up with ...


57

(For context, I am in mathematics, and worked on it for almost 20 years before the convenience of the internet...) As suggested by @JonCuster's comment, I think this is what is supposed to happen when one is studying (!). That is, I think genuine study of the literature is "going down the rabbit hole"... and/but not giving up or bailing out somehow. Sure, ...


53

6 out of 44 is less than 14%... If the cited works are relevant, such as building on previous results or analysis then there should be no problem. If you are citing works that are by you but not relevant then that is an issue (I don't think you are doing this but just for both sides). If the only works you are citing were your own then that may be an issue,...


51

I'll try to give a general answer from a non-CS perspective. tl; dr: yes, there are errors out there. A lot of errors, clerical and not, even in oft-cited papers and books, from any field. It's inevitable: though they do their best to avoid errors, authors are human after all, and reviewers are humans too (I know, you never find a damn robot when you need ...


51

What matters is the work presented in the paper. So you just write Ruist [1] studied the effects of refugees on public finance, finding similar results.


50

(disclaimer - I come from computer science, and the little I know about conventions in philosophy is from hearsay) I'd like to be able to say "I looked around on Google scholar, etc, and I couldn't find anything about this topic" The usual expression for this kind of thing in my field is "to the best of our knowledge, this topic/idea has so far not been ...


49

To avoid confusion and to ensure the comparability of the results, you should use uniform and consistent units throughout the paper. You can write a note explaining that in the original paper the authors used pounds, furlong per fortnight etc. And of course, yes, use the SI units. Nowadays all non-SI units are defined in terms of SI units. However, don't ...


46

Yes you should cite it because: You know about that paper You read it in the context of preparing your work. Finding gaps and flaws in previous works is a major part of designing and refining your own research By your own judgement it’s highly relevant. Explain your rebuttal of their claims or method using proper scientific arguments. If I were you I ...


45

The answer is very simple: ask your current supervisor and be completely transparent with them about the situation. Whatever is acceptable to them is the right answer. Standards for masters theses are much more flexible and inconsistent than for doctoral theses, so, for all practical intents and purposes, whatever your supervisor approves is acceptable. (But ...


44

Neither. First, identify the "important" subset of your 400+ papers and read those. Second, try to identify the "good" subset of the papers and read those. Then, (if at all) read the other papers; perhaps you are doing all this with the intention of writing a review, in which case it makes sense to read oldest-to-newest to get a sense of the history. The ...


43

Ask people Doing literature research on your own is necessary, and you should spend some time on this to make sure that the result is not already available. But there is only so much you can find, and it often happens that the result has previously been published with a different name or title, which you could not have known about. More experienced people ...


35

I don't entirely agree with the answer "No". This may be because my field is mathematics, though. Sure, not looking at literature beforehand means you are at risk of re-doing something that was already known and it's never nice to discover after spending lots of time working on something that it was already out there. On the other hand, when you come ...


34

If you know that the relevant literature is mostly in one community, then the approach you've described works fairly well. It may be "inefficient" if there are lots of related papers, but (to use computer science jargon), it's efficient in the size of the output :) I have found that finding a recent survey helps a lot, because it taxonomizes the literature ...


32

Reviewing the literature relevant to a given field is a standard part of doing research, as this serves to put your work into the context of the larger discipline in which you are working. If there is an actual difference between the "literature survey" and the "literature review," it's that the latter can serve as a paper in and of itself, and is much more ...


32

In many fields, finding good methodology was a long and tedious process. You gain nothing by repeating this process, if you can manage in one life time at all. However, if you do not use a reasonable methodology, your research will likely be without value. For example, consider that you have twenty drugs and try to investigate whether any of is good for the ...


30

You have several options - but they'll all take a bit more time. For one, check if your university can get access to articles "on loan" which usually just means another university sends you the pdf. Alternatively, check the corresponding authors university website. Often, they'll put their publications there, or on researchgate. Finally, if you can't find it ...


27

Well, I have written couple of survery/review articles published in prestigious journals here, here, and here and hence I think I can give you some hint on this question. First View: One of the most important things to consider is that, these terms have been used differently in varied academic disciplines and even in some cases they are used interchangeably ...


26

Literature reviews, often referred to by journals as just "Reviews" can and are their own form of research paper. My very first publication was a review like this, so it's clearly possible. How viable a paper like that is will probably depend on the conventions of your field. For example, mine generally requires that these "expert reviews" (in contrast to a ...


25

No, not at all. You should cover all publications which fall within the scope of the review, and if one of them happens to be a paper of yourself, then of course you still have to cover that in your review. Just make sure that you try to be objective in the way you discuss it. Best practice would be to review your paper as you would review a paper by any ...


25

The advice I was given by my supervisor is to write about a paragraph on each of the four following points for each paper you read (note, this is from a very CS perspective): What's the context for the paper, in other words, what is the issue that the paper's trying to tackle, and what's the prior work in the area, or the work that the paper's trying to ...


24

I have previously written an answer to the math version of the same question. I see no reason why it can't be applied to this case as well. The human tendency is to prefer worrying about the most recently raised concern: You are reading paper X. You see a term T you don't recognize. You decide to pause reading X to quickly look up T (of course, ...


24

There are occasions when inclusion of author credentials is useful (especially in the general press), academic publications (generally) aren't such an occasion and I've never seen such an inclusion in academic publications. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a discipline that includes author credentials in publications. TL;DR: Without


23

Let us assume, for example, you read Doe (2011) and find Smith (1966) referenced therein. Technically, you can say something like "Smith (1966, cited in Doe, 2011)", or alternatively "(Smith 1966, cited in Doe, 2011)." The exact format depends on the format of the journal (it is also possible to phrase it "cited by" instead of "cited in"). That said, ...


23

I would not suggest starting by looking for gaps at all for a few reasons. Some gaps are left gaps for a reason. Some are not relevant enough to be bothered with, some have not enough data to work with, some lack technology to work with. In any case, even if you find a gap, the follow up question will be why do you want to spend time and resources trying to ...


23

Dissenting View: You Absolutely Can Cite a Retracted Paper Research is about telling the truth about facts of reality. You can cite any fact of reality you want if it is relevant to your research; if someone says something, you can report that they said it. You can cite a published academic paper; you can cite a newspaper article; you can cite a letter; ...


23

The paper must be acknowledged as proper research is based on published literature. You don’t really need to provide some passionate negative critique of the paper like you’ve done here. You can merely point out main reasons why it could not be included in your analysis directly. However I am sure many of the points you raised here should be fairly ...


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