Critique: Gravitation and Paper

Submitted By aonofre
Words: 1802
Pages: 8


This is a really good paper, so now lets trash it. Seriously, I though it would be helpful for you if you could see a critique of this paper so that you could more easily see some of the things that were done right and that were done wrong.

Overall this is a very good paper. It is well organized, focused, and well polished (i.e., good grammar, good spelling, transitions between different discussions, etc.). As a result, it flows well --- it is easy and enjoyable to read. The topic is relevant and reasonably well focused. It could be a little more focused, and could use a stronger thesis statement. It is obvious from the text that the authors have a fairly good understanding of the subject, and for the most part their science and reasoning is sound. Take a good look at the abstract. It is a very good one. (It's not very flashy, and it wouldn't make a good advertisement for a TV show, but that's not the purpose of the abstract.) It clearly, concisely, and in order tells us what the paper will discuss. If I were doing research and wanted to know specific things about a specific topic, this abstract would let me know right away if the paper contains what I'm looking for. On the second page, the body of the paper begins. Take a look at the first two "introduction" paragraphs. They give a description of what gravity waves are, a brief history of gravity waves, and a brief note as to why attempts to detect them are important. This introduction is very good. It contains, however, too much information in too little space. If this were your paper, I'd recommend either expanding the size of the introduction, or, even better, tightening the focus and leaving out some information. Without focus, papers tend not to flow well and are harder to read and understand. Although it is not necessary to write the word "introduction," at the start of your paper (in bold, underlined, and written in day-glow red) , it is important to start off the paper with an introduction to give the reader the necessary background and to explain the motivation for the paper. I would have liked to see a better description of what a gravity wave is in the introduction, since gravity waves are central to the paper! What is actually oscillating in a gravity wave? The third paragraph makes a transition from the introduction to the rest of the paper, telling us what they are going to discuss. Unfortunately, they only mention one source of gravity waves, while their paper goes on to discuss other sources and other topics as well. A good one or two sentence thesis statement is needed before they end their introduction. Something like... "In this paper we will describe five types of gravitational wave sources: orbiting masses, coalescence, mass transfer, ... , as well as several proposed methods of gravity wave detection." Notice how the descriptions of the various means of generating gravity waves are presented in a nice orderly way. The information is presented in a concise way. This part of the paper flows very well --- you learn a lot of information without expending much time or effort to read or understand it. Also notice that each new concept has at least one reference --- letting us know where they learned about it. Unless the idea you are discussing is your own original research, you should reference the source where you obtained the information. One of the things I dislike about this paper is the way in which the figures are presented and referenced. Each figure, table, etc., should be labeled with a number and a caption, i.e., "FIG. 1. Artists depiction of mass transfer between two gravitational wells. Mass at the outer edge of the larger body is captured by stronger gravitational pull of the smaller but denser body." It is best to refer to a figure using it's label rather than it's position on the page. For example, rather than saying "in the figure below" or, as is done here, "The following diagram