How I write a report

  1. Skim the paper to get the basic argument.
  2. Read the paper very carefully, making notes on things I do not understand, do not agree with, and technical details I need to think about.
  3. Get away from the manuscript and think hard about it.
  4. Convert the notes from step 2 into a list in a document that will be the ‘bones’ of my report.
  5. Start writing a summary paragraph about the paper into that same document, and the summary paragraph will lead into my overall discussion of the paper in the report.
  6. Edit the document into a coherent report.   The final report includes  a paper summary, a discussion of my overall views of the paper, and a page by list of questions and comments.
  7. Get away from the report and think it over again.
  8. Reread and edit the report again.
  9. Write the letter to the editor.
  10. Submit.

Sometimes steps 6-8 get repeated many times.  All this takes me between one and two days, unless I can figure the paper out really quickly.


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