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Professor Saiedian developed these guidelines in the mid-2000s for his software engineering students, but any EECS student may use them in other classes, ignoring the SE-specific requirements. Other faculty may borrow these guidelines with proper attribution.

Preparing weekley paper reviews

Students who choose to do weekly paper reviews as their special research project should adhere to the following minimal requirements. Additional requirements will be provided depending on the course where such reviews will be an option:

  1. Submit the list of at least n papers related to the course topic that you intend to review. Refer to the course requirements for the specific value of n. The list should be submitted by the third week of the semester. Format the list using one of the recognized bibliographic styles (e.g, the APA or the Harvard). Additional guidance on formatting can be found in the guidelines for writing a term paper.

  2. The primary reading material should consist of peer-reviewed papers for the course you are enrolled in. For introductory courses, articles primarily from the following lesser technical journals should be selected: Communications of the ACM, IEEE Computer, IEEE Software (see the course syllabus for the course you are registered in). For non-introductory courses, for example for advanced software engineering courses, it is recommended that you also choose articles from the transactions, e.g., IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering and ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology. Papers from select conferences, such as ICSE and FSE, may also be acceptable for certain courses. Consult the course syllabus to determine if conference papers are permissible.

  3. The selected papers should be peer-reviewed research work. Commentaries and experiential accounts devoid of actual experiments or empirical studies will not be approved.

  4. The chosen papers should be minimally seven pages. Strive for papers that were published during the past four years.

  5. Formatting requirements. The list of papers should be as complete as possible. It is very likely that your references will include journal articles, conference proceedings articles, books (or chapters in a book or in a collection), and technical reports. Consult your course requirement to see if non-journal papers are acceptable (conference proceedings papers will be accepted only for the conferences that have been listed on the course syllabus). The following is a list of required items for each article:

    • Journal articles: author, title, journal, volume, number, year, pages [month].
    • Books: author (or editor), title, publisher, year, edition, publisher address.
    • Book chapters: same as book and/or conference proceedings articles.
    • Conference proceedings: author, title, proceedings title, pages, year, publisher, [editor, month, place]
    • Thesis/dissertation: author, title, school, year, [address]

  6. When submitting the list of papers for approval, use a recognized bibliography style, e.g., the APA or Harvard style. For each paper, you should minimally provide the following: all authors, paper title, journal title, volume, number, pages, year, publisher.
  7. Your reviews should be at least two pages (singlespace), though a good review should be 2--3 pages. Your review should be a true review, evaluation, and takeaways of the work. Avoid paragraph by paragraph summaries. Your first paragraph should be a summary of the entire article (the authors, motivation, methodology, validation approach, and contributions and results. Here are some minimal items to include in each review:
    • Briefly introduce the paper you are reviewing, including the title, authors, publication venue, and publication date. Provide a concise overview of the paper's main topic, problem statement, and research objectives.
    • Summarize the key contributions and findings of the paper. Highlight the main research questions or hypotheses addressed. Mention the methodology used by the authors, if relevant.
    • Discuss the strengths of the paper. What aspects of the research are well-executed? Identify any weaknesses or limitations in the paper. Are there areas where the research could be improved? Assess the significance and relevance of the paper's findings to the field of software engineering. Consider the quality and appropriateness of the research methodology, data collection, and analysis techniques.
    • Assess the originality and novelty of the paper's contributions. Explain how the paper advances the state of knowledge in software engineering.
    • Comment on the clarity and organization of the paper's writing. Evaluate the quality of figures, tables, and other visual aids. Note any ambiguities or confusing sections in the paper.
    • Discuss how the paper relates to existing research in the field. Are there significant references or related work cited by the authors? Evaluate how the paper builds upon or extends previous research.
    • Summarize your overall assessment of the paper, taking into account its strengths and weaknesses. State whether you believe the paper makes a valuable contribution to the field of software engineering.
    • Provide any final thoughts or insights regarding the paper's importance or relevance to the course. Provide any final thoughts or insights regarding the paper's importance or relevance to the course.

  8. Paper reviews should be submitted to Canvas at the beginning of each class session. For each review, provide the following:

    Your full name
    Course title
    Review # and date
    Full citation of the paper being reviewed

    Follow the above with your written review. At the end, it is OK to include one or two additional references (in APA or Harvard bibliography style) that you may have cited in your review.

  9. Be prepared to answer questions about any paper you have reviewed or deliver a brief presentation on any given paper; some papers may be selected for a more in-depth presentation.

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