I discovered a great, concise (2 pages) paper on how to read a research paper in the July 2007 issue of the Computer Communication Review. This paper is entitled simply “How to Read a Paper” and is by S. Keshav, of the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. Mr. Keshav gives his “three-pass approach” to reading a scientific/technical research paper. This is a great article for both undergraduates and new graduate students to read, partly because it is so short and clear. (You may want to consider assigning this paper to your students to read and discuss.) If your library has the ACM Digital Library, you already have access to this paper. If you don’t have access to the paper via your Library, you can view it at the author’s faculty page (or order it via Interlibrary Loan).