Reading Academic Literature

RES 701 @ NMIT – reading and evaluating academic literature

Our task is to take on an academic paper and dissect it! Ideally, the paper will be of interest to us personally, and we are to summarise its findings. At the same time, we are to record the process of finding the paper, and make a judgement call on the paper’s validity or worth.

I am particularly interested in the integration of technology with people – in particular I am interested in ways that the people can naturally interact with technology to derive immediate benefit. The Natural Programming group at Carnegie Mellon are devoted to this, and sum it up nicely:

We are taking a human-centered approach, first studying how people perform their tasks and then designing languages and environments around people’s natural tendencies

The Natural Programming Project, Carnegie Mellon (

So naturally, I have chosen an article published from this group: Studying the Language and Structure in Non-Programmers’ Solutions to Programming Problems.

APA reference

Pane, J. F., Ratanamahatana, C., & Myers, B. A. (2001). Studying the language and structure in non-programmers’ solutions to programming problems. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies54(2), 237-264.

–>    Identified via Google Scholar: keywords ‘natural programming’ and followed thread of the Author’s publications (John F. Pane)

–>    Found in the Science Direct Database (paid)

–>    Sourced from (April, 2013)


  • John F. Pane has extensive background in computer science, with a particular flavour for educational paradigms (I apologise to JF Pane for the gross generalisation here – but would qualify this with the incredible amount of work he has done to shift education methods into more efficient and relevant applications). JF Pane has studied and worked at Carnegie Mellon and is currently a senior scientist at the RAND Corporation, Pittsburgh, USA.
  • This paper has been cited 151 times (Google Scholar) and JF Pane’s other publications have been cited over 1000 times, half of which have been in the past 5 years. For comparison I searched for articles and citation records of two academics, NE Dixon and G Otting, whom are both exceptionally well respected researchers in their fields. Citations of NE Dixon’s work was of a similar order to JF Pane’s, and that lends strength to the level of support of JF Pane’s work. While the number of citation for G Otting’s work were significantly higher (ranging from approx. 200 – 600 citations per paper), this is perhaps indicative of his exceptional academic standing.
  • The International Journal of Human Computer Studies, seems to be a well-respected journal, falling within the upper quartile of like-journals according to This journal also features strongly in the calculated Impact Factor ( on the Elsevier database. These things, when combined with the author’s background help to lend credibility to the article.
  • Furthermore, this article follows all the normal structures of an academic paper – and more specifically it adheres to the regulations for publishing in the Int. J. of Human Computer Studies, as defined:


On the whole this article appears to be very much up my alley, and also seems to come with some significant credibility. In a future posting, I will discuss the article’s content.

Clean code??? Human Code!


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