- Jan 10, 2020
In a research-reading heavy course, our professor taught us to read the figures first. I tried that on a paper I'm trying to read in a new field (not for the class) and it wasn't working. The figures are almost all really long, dense data tables, some with p-values, and some without. I tried reading the background and introduction first, then taking another look at the tables. That helped somewhat, but the tables without p-values just look like number-soup to me. Any advice or tips? Any mistakes I might be making? I was taught (by both aforementioned professor and my PI, so I'm assuming it's normative) not to read the author's own conclusions too much (lumped in with the analysis section of the manuscript in this article's case) before looking at the data and coming to my own conclusions.