For studying advanced topics, what's the better and nearer to complete approach? Can books cover what's in research papers, journals or those ACM transactions, or Springer's LNCS? Or reading research papers is indispensable for getting advanced? If we can't depend on books for information, how can a learner know of what he is missing in a specific topic, since research papers cover a specific (very specific) topic which cannot be found in a collected manner of the whole topic as books do. Is there a place (may be wikipedia) which could help finding the way through a topic? Rephrasing my question, do research papers offer new information which may not be found in books or are they clever applications of the information found in books?
closed as primarily opinion-based by user22815, gnat, Ixrec, user40980, durron597 Apr 26 '15 at 22:55
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Most research is going to be dependent on other research, but should offer something more or at least help in confirming an existing belief. I would expect to learn something new that wouldn't be found in other books. Otherwise, what's the point?
Books tend to pull lots of information into a single location. I would expect them to utilize the existing research and not the other way around.
I'm a CS researcher myself. The best way to leverage research papers is to find the most recent publication on your desired topic and then look at the related work section to see previous research in the area. If you find that some papers are referenced very often, then it's probably a canonical work that you should read. Google Scholar also helps here because it will track how many other papers cite a particular paper.
Another resource is ACM Computing Surveys, where each article has a complete survey of a given field. Extremely handy for academic research.
Communications of the ACM and IEEE Computer are general-audience monthly magazines with research topics written by laymen, and the related work section of each article is usually very good.
If you can find a really good, recent book on a given topic, that would be preferrable because the whole book is written by one author (or just a few co-authors), so the writing style is presumably more uniform. Books are presumably written more for laymen and are better to understand.
Books, or what is is often referred to as the "dead tree edition" take months to print. In a rapidly advancing field like medicine where knowledge doubles every 18 months (or less), the printed version might well be considered a "history book".
Websites like this one are constantly being updated and often you can get the latest information very quickly from extremely knowledgeable people. Even better, you get a two-way interaction so you can request a better explanation for something you don't fully understand.
Journals come in both on-line and printed versions. Clearly a printed journal lies somewhere between books and current information in terms of timelessness.
As for a "complete" approach? A wise person will utilize all available sources of value, including books and journals.
There are a lot of useless papers, and a lot of great papers. Use the books to learn the fundamentals, and fill in your knowledge where you need to understand papers.
Blog posts, lambda the ultimate, and cstheory.stackexchange are also great resources.
Basically: use everything you can get your hands on that is relevant.