A solution can be to involve a set of complementary coauthors: some people are excellent at mapping what has been achieved, some others are very good at identifying dark clouds on the horizon, and some have instead a knack at predicting where solutions are going to come from. If your journal club has exactly this sort of team, then you should definitely write a review of the literature! In addition to critical thinking, a literature review needs consistency, for example in the choice of passive vs.
Like a well-baked cake, a good review has a number of telling features: it is worth the reader's time, timely, systematic, well written, focused, and critical. It also needs a good structure. With reviews, the usual subdivision of research papers into introduction, methods, results, and discussion does not work or is rarely used.
However, a general introduction of the context and, toward the end, a recapitulation of the main points covered and take-home messages make sense also in the case of reviews. For systematic reviews, there is a trend towards including information about how the literature was searched database, keywords, time limits .
How can you organize the flow of the main body of the review so that the reader will be drawn into and guided through it? It is generally helpful to draw a conceptual scheme of the review, e. Such diagrams can help recognize a logical way to order and link the various sections of a review .
This is the case not just at the writing stage, but also for readers if the diagram is included in the review as a figure. A careful selection of diagrams and figures relevant to the reviewed topic can be very helpful to structure the text too . Reviews of the literature are normally peer-reviewed in the same way as research papers, and rightly so . As a rule, incorporating feedback from reviewers greatly helps improve a review draft.
Having read the review with a fresh mind, reviewers may spot inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and ambiguities that had not been noticed by the writers due to rereading the typescript too many times. It is however advisable to reread the draft one more time before submission, as a last-minute correction of typos, leaps, and muddled sentences may enable the reviewers to focus on providing advice on the content rather than the form. Feedback is vital to writing a good review, and should be sought from a variety of colleagues, so as to obtain a diversity of views on the draft.
This may lead in some cases to conflicting views on the merits of the paper, and on how to improve it, but such a situation is better than the absence of feedback. A diversity of feedback perspectives on a literature review can help identify where the consensus view stands in the landscape of the current scientific understanding of an issue . In many cases, reviewers of the literature will have published studies relevant to the review they are writing.
This could create a conflict of interest: how can reviewers report objectively on their own work ? Some scientists may be overly enthusiastic about what they have published, and thus risk giving too much importance to their own findings in the review. However, bias could also occur in the other direction: some scientists may be unduly dismissive of their own achievements, so that they will tend to downplay their contribution if any to a field when reviewing it.
In general, a review of the literature should neither be a public relations brochure nor an exercise in competitive self-denial. If a reviewer is up to the job of producing a well-organized and methodical review, which flows well and provides a service to the readership, then it should be possible to be objective in reviewing one's own relevant findings.
In reviews written by multiple authors, this may be achieved by assigning the review of the results of a coauthor to different coauthors. Given the progressive acceleration in the publication of scientific papers, today's reviews of the literature need awareness not just of the overall direction and achievements of a field of inquiry, but also of the latest studies, so as not to become out-of-date before they have been published.
This implies that literature reviewers would do well to keep an eye on electronic lists of papers in press, given that it can take months before these appear in scientific databases. Some reviews declare that they have scanned the literature up to a certain point in time, but given that peer review can be a rather lengthy process, a full search for newly appeared literature at the revision stage may be worthwhile. Assessing the contribution of papers that have just appeared is particularly challenging, because there is little perspective with which to gauge their significance and impact on further research and society.
Inevitably, new papers on the reviewed topic including independently written literature reviews will appear from all quarters after the review has been published, so that there may soon be the need for an updated review. But this is the nature of science  — . I wish everybody good luck with writing a review of the literature. Many thanks to M. Barbosa, K. Dehnen-Schmutz, T. Fontaneto, M. Garbelotto, O. Holdenrieder, M.
Jeger, D. Lonsdale, A. MacLeod, P. Mills, M. Moslonka-Lefebvre, G. Stancanelli, P. Weisberg, and X. Xu for insights and discussions, and to P. Bourne, T. Matoni, and D. Smith for helpful comments on a previous draft. Rule 1: Define a Topic and Audience How to choose which topic to review?
The topic must at least be: interesting to you ideally, you should have come across a series of recent papers related to your line of work that call for a critical summary , an important aspect of the field so that many readers will be interested in the review and there will be enough material to write it , and a well-defined issue otherwise you could potentially include thousands of publications, which would make the review unhelpful.
Rule 2: Search and Re-search the Literature After having chosen your topic and audience, start by checking the literature and downloading relevant papers. Five pieces of advice here: keep track of the search items you use so that your search can be replicated  , keep a list of papers whose pdfs you cannot access immediately so as to retrieve them later with alternative strategies , use a paper management system e.
Download: PPT. Figure 1. A conceptual diagram of the need for different types of literature reviews depending on the amount of published research papers and literature reviews. Rule 3: Take Notes While Reading If you read the papers first, and only afterwards start writing the review, you will need a very good memory to remember who wrote what, and what your impressions and associations were while reading each single paper.
Rule 4: Choose the Type of Review You Wish to Write After having taken notes while reading the literature, you will have a rough idea of the amount of material available for the review. Rule 5: Keep the Review Focused, but Make It of Broad Interest Whether your plan is to write a mini- or a full review, it is good advice to keep it focused 16 , Rule 6: Be Critical and Consistent Reviewing the literature is not stamp collecting. After having read a review of the literature, a reader should have a rough idea of: the major achievements in the reviewed field, the main areas of debate, and the outstanding research questions.
Rule 7: Find a Logical Structure Like a well-baked cake, a good review has a number of telling features: it is worth the reader's time, timely, systematic, well written, focused, and critical. Rule 8: Make Use of Feedback Reviews of the literature are normally peer-reviewed in the same way as research papers, and rightly so . Rule 9: Include Your Own Relevant Research, but Be Objective In many cases, reviewers of the literature will have published studies relevant to the review they are writing.
Rule Be Up-to-Date, but Do Not Forget Older Studies Given the progressive acceleration in the publication of scientific papers, today's reviews of the literature need awareness not just of the overall direction and achievements of a field of inquiry, but also of the latest studies, so as not to become out-of-date before they have been published.
Acknowledgments Many thanks to M. References 1. Rapple C The role of the critical review article in alleviating information overload. Annual Reviews White Paper. Accessed May Pautasso M Worsening file-drawer problem in the abstracts of natural, medical and social science databases. Scientometrics — View Article Google Scholar 3.
Bioscience — View Article Google Scholar 5. Boote DN, Beile P Scholars before researchers: on the centrality of the dissertation literature review in research preparation. Budgen D, Brereton P Performing systematic literature reviews in software engineering. Maier HR What constitutes a good literature review and why does its quality matter? Torraco RJ Writing integrative literature reviews: guidelines and examples.
As is the case with many research articles, general format of a systematic review on a single subject includes sections of Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion Table 2. Steps, and targets of constructing a good review article are listed in Table 3. To write a good review article the items in Table 3 should be implemented step by step. It might be helpful to divide the research question into components.
In a systematic review on a focused question, methods of investigation used should be clearly specified. Ideally, research methods, investigated databases, and key words should be described in the final report. Different databases are used dependent on the topic analyzed. In most of the clinical topics, Medline should be surveyed.
While determining appropriate terms for surveying, PICO elements of the issue to be sought may guide the process. Since in general we are interested in more than one outcome, P, and I can be key elements.
In this case we should think about synonyms of P, and I elements, and combine them with a conjunction AND. A good example of this method can be found in PubMed interface of Medline. The Clinical Queries tool offers empirically developed filters for five different inquiries as guidelines for etiology, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis or clinical prediction.
As an indispensable component of the review process is to discriminate good, and bad quality researches from each other, and the outcomes should be based on better qualified researches, as far as possible. A hierarchy of evidence for different research questions is presented in Table 4.
However this hierarchy is only a first step. Rarely all researches arrive at the same conclusion. In this case a solution should be found. However it is risky to make a decision based on the votes of absolute majority. Indeed, a well-performed large scale study, and a weakly designed one are weighed on the same scale.
Therefore, ideally a meta-analysis should be performed to solve apparent differences. Ideally, first of all, one should be focused on the largest, and higher quality study, then other studies should be compared with this basic study. In conclusion, during writing process of a review article, the procedures to be achieved can be indicated as follows: 1 Get rid of fixed ideas, and obsessions from your head, and view the subject from a large perspective. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U.
Journal List Turk J Urol v. Turk J Urol. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Received Mar 6; Accepted May This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract In the medical sciences, the importance of review articles is rising. Keywords: How to write, review, writing.
This simple definition of a review article contains the following key elements: The question s to be dealt with Methods used to find out, and select the best quality researches so as to respond to these questions. To synthetize available, but quite different researches For the specification of important questions to be answered, number of literature references to be consulted should be more or less determined.
Table 1. Additional analyses 16 Describe methods of additional analyses such as sensitivity or subgroup analyses, meta-regression , if done, indicating which were pre-specified. Results Study selection 17 Give numbers of studies screened, assessed for eligibility, and included in the review, with reasons for exclusions at each stage, ideally with a flow diagram.
Study characteristics 18 For each study, present characteristics for which data were extracted such as study size, PICOS, follow-up period and provide the citation. Risk of bias within studies 19 Present data on risk of bias of each study and, if available, any outcome-level assessment see item 12 Results of individual studies 20 For all outcomes considered benefits and harms , present, for each study, simple summary data for each intervention group and effect estimates and confidence intervals, ideally with a forest plot a type of graph used in meta-analyses which demonstrates relat, ve success rates of treatment outcomes of multiple scientific studies analyzing the same topic Syntheses of resxults 21 Present the results of each meta-analyses including confidence intervals and measures of consistency Risk of bias across studies 22 Present results of any assessment of risk of bias across studies see item Additional analyses 23 Give results of additional analyses, if done such as sensitivity or subgroup analyses, meta-regression see item 16 Discussion Summary of evidence 24 Summarize the main findings, including the strength of evidence for each main outcome; consider their relevance to key groups such as healthcare providers, users, and policy makers Limitations 25 Discuss limitations at study and outcome level such as risk of bias , and at review level such as incomplete retrieval of identified research, reporting bias Conclusions 26 Provide a general interpretation of the results in the context of other evidence, and implications for future research Funding Funding 27 Indicate sources of funding or other support such as supply of data for the systematic review, and the role of funders for the systematic review.
Open in a separate window. Contents and format Important differences exist between systematic, and non-systematic reviews which especially arise from methodologies used in the description of the literature sources. Table 2. Structure of a systematic review. Section Contents Introduction Presents the problem and certain issues dealt in the review article Methods Describes research, and evaluation process Specifies the number of studies evaluated orselected Results Describes the quality, and outcomes of the selected studies Discussion Summarizes results, limitations, and outcomes of the procedure and research.
Preparation of the review article Steps, and targets of constructing a good review article are listed in Table 3. Steps of a systematic review. Step Processes Formulation of researchable questions Select answerable questions Disclosure of studies Databases, and key words Evaluation of its quality Quality criteria during selection of studies Synthesis Methods interpretation, and synthesis of outcomes.
The research question It might be helpful to divide the research question into components. Finding Studies In a systematic review on a focused question, methods of investigation used should be clearly specified. Evaluation of the Quality of the Study As an indispensable component of the review process is to discriminate good, and bad quality researches from each other, and the outcomes should be based on better qualified researches, as far as possible.
Determination of levels of evidence based on the type of the research question. Formulating a Synthesis Rarely all researches arrive at the same conclusion. Conclusions In conclusion, during writing process of a review article, the procedures to be achieved can be indicated as follows: 1 Get rid of fixed ideas, and obsessions from your head, and view the subject from a large perspective.
References 1. How to use an overview. Evidence-Based Medicine Working Group. Number of published systematic 2 reviews and global burden of disease: database analysis. Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Mulrow CD. The medical review article: state of the science. Ann Intern Med. Quality of Reporting of Meta-analyses.
Collins JA, Fauser B. Balancing the strengths of systematicand narrative reviews. Hum Reprod Update. Writing narrative literaturereviews for peer-reviewed journals: secrets of the trade. J SportsChiropract Rehabil.
You can also take advantage of Purdue Owl for instant and up-to-date examples and tutorials or the citation libguide for more information. If you want to improve and polish your writing techniques, please visit the Collaborative Learning Center , where one-on-one, small group and online writing tutoring are offered. If you have more questions, the reference desk provides walk-in services, or you could email us or contact subject liaison librarians for consultation.
Please take advantage of the database of Annual Review and you can find excellent review articles. It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results. How to Write a Literature Review: Home.
Introduction This libguide offers an overview on how to write a literature review in general. What is a literature review? What is the purpose of a literature review? How to choose a topic? How to find reading resources? How to read and organize reading materials? How to write and structure a literature review? How to cite resources? Junli Diao. Email Me. Contact: 94 - 20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd.
Successful Research Projects by Bernard C. B Successful Research Projects: A Step-by-Step Guide is a concise and accessible text that guides students through each component of the research process. Using a step-by-step active learning approach, acclaimed professor and researcher Dr. Bernard C. Beins discusses each of the key actions required for students to confidently develop, perform, analyze, and report the results of their research in a thorough, accurate, and methodologically sound manner.
Throughout the text, they will discover not only how to complete each step, but how the steps at any point relate to other aspects of their research and writing. G53 This is a book to help social work, psychology, counseling and other human service students and professionals improve their writing. It is written without the use of complicated grammatical terms or complex rules that often confuse and discourage writers. Because it is written specifically for the human services, it contains chapters with examples on writing student papers, client reports, psychosocial histories, evaluations, professional papers, research reports, papers for mass audiences, requests for funding, letters to the editor, the use of the Internet in helping clients, the privacy rules of HIPAA, and the many other uses of writing by professionals.
The book contains an easy-to-use chapter on the rules and application of APA Style and explains, in simple terms, when certain punctuation marks are needed and why the choice of certain words may give incorrect or vague meaning. A37 The Craft of Scientific Writing is designed to help scientists and engineers - both professionals already active in the disciplines as well as students preparing to enter the professions - write about their work clearly and effectively.
Written for use as a text in courses on scientific writing, the book includes many useful suggestions about approaching a wide variety of writing tasks from journal papers to grant proposals and from emails to formal reports, as well as a concise guide to style and usage appropriate for scientific writing.
Also useful for self-study, the book will be an important reference for all scientists and engineers who need to write about their work. B35 Many psychology students dislike writing a research paper, their aversion driven by anxiety over various aspects of the process. This primer for undergraduates explains how to write a clear, compelling, well-organized research paper.
From picking a promising topic, to finding and digesting the pertinent literature, to developing a thesis, to outlining and presenting ideas, to editing for clarity and concision - each step is broken down and illustrated with examples. In addition, a bonus chapter discusses how to combat procrastination. Students learn that the best writing is done in chunks over long periods of time, and that writing is a skill that improves with practice.
By following the advice in this book, any student can not only get through their dreaded writing assignment, but become a more proficient writer. M87 It is oriented to someone writing a PhD thesis, but has a lot to say about writing in general. It deals with the process of writing rather than detailed content, and is applicable regardless of discipline" SRA"This is the book that all PhD supervisors and their students have been waiting for: the first comprehensive overview of the many different writing practices, and processes, involved in the production of a doctoral thesis.
Crammed full of explanations, shortcuts and tips, this book demystifies academic writing in one fell swoop. Everyone who reads it will be massively enabled as a writer. M33 Susan Peck MacDonald here tackles important and often controversial contemporary questions regarding the rhetoric of inquiry, the social construction of knowledge, and the professionalization of the academy. MacDonald argues that the academy has devoted more effort to analyzing theory and method than to analyzing its own texts.
Professional texts need further attention because they not only create but are also shaped by the knowledge that is special to each discipline. Her assumption is that knowledge making is the distinctive activity of the academy at the professional level; for that reason, it is important to examine differences in the ways the professional texts of subdisciplinary communities focus on and consolidate knowledge within their fields.
K It illustrates in detail all the steps in the entire reading-writing process from reading the original source to revising the final draft--for a variety of essay types. Useful Databases Please take advantage of the database of Annual Review and you can find excellent review articles.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use. A literature review is a document or section of a document that collects key sources on a topic and discusses those sources in conversation with each other also called synthesis. The lit review is an important genre in many disciplines, not just literature i. There are a number of different situations where you might write a literature review, each with slightly different expectations; different disciplines, too, have field-specific expectations for what a literature review is and does.
A literature review can be a part of a research paper or scholarly article, usually falling after the introduction and before the research methods sections. In these cases, the lit review just needs to cover scholarship that is important to the issue you are writing about; sometimes it will also cover key sources that informed your research methodology. Lit reviews can also be standalone pieces, either as assignments in a class or as publications. This can be especially helpful for students or scholars getting into a new research area, or for directing an entire community of scholars toward questions that have not yet been answered.
Most lit reviews use a basic introduction-body-conclusion structure; if your lit review is part of a larger paper, the introduction and conclusion pieces may be just a few sentences while you focus most of your attention on the body. If your lit review is a standalone piece, the introduction and conclusion take up more space and give you a place to discuss your goals, research methods, and conclusions separately from where you discuss the literature itself.
Lit reviews can take many different organizational patterns depending on what you are trying to accomplish with the review. Here are some examples:. Any lit review is only as good as the research it discusses; make sure your sources are well-chosen and your research is thorough. More info on the research process is available in our "Conducting Research" resources. Usually you will need to synthesize research rather than just summarizing it.
This means drawing connections between sources to create a picture of the scholarly conversation on a topic over time. Often, the literature review is where you can establish your research as filling a particular gap or as relevant in a particular way. You have some chance to do this in your introduction in an article, but the literature review section gives a more extended opportunity to establish the conversation in the way you would like your readers to see it.
You can choose the intellectual lineage you would like to be part of and whose definitions matter most to your thinking mostly humanities-specific, but this goes for sciences as well. In addressing these points, you argue for your place in the conversation, which tends to make the lit review more compelling than a simple reporting of other sources.
Research and Citation Conducting Research. Writing a Literature Review A literature review is a document or section of a document that collects key sources on a topic and discusses those sources in conversation with each other also called synthesis.
|Gcse macbeth essay||Five common flaws that the reviewers find in a scientific article before rejecting are Bordage, : Small and biased samples Insufficient number of samples and incorrect research tools Incorrect description and inappropriate use of statistics Incorrect interpretation of the how to write a materials review Writing that is unclear and hard to follow The materials and methods section should include a clear and brief description of your research rules to writing a resume. So now, I only sign my reviews so as to be fully transparent on the rare occasions when I suggest that the authors cite papers of mine, which I only do when my work will remedy factual errors or correct the claim that something has never been addressed before. How to review a paper. The value of a review is associated with what has been done, what has been found and how these findings are presented. Five common flaws that the reviewers find in a scientific article before rejecting are Bordage, :. On the one hand, if you take several years to choose, several other people may have had the same idea in the meantime. A key aspect of a review paper is that it provides the evidence for a particular point of view in a field.|
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It is not merely a report on some references you found. Instead, a review paper synthesizes the results from several primary literature papers to produce a coherent argument about a topic or focused description of a field. Current Opinion in Cell Biology. Annual Review of Physiology. You should read articles from one or more of these sources to get examples of how your paper should be organized. Scientists commonly use reviews to communicate with each other and the general public.
There are a wide variety of review styles from ones aimed at a general audience e. A key aspect of a review paper is that it provides the evidence for a particular point of view in a field. Thus, a large focus of your paper should be a description of the data that support or refute that point of view. In addition, you should inform the reader of the experimental techniques that were used to generate the data.
The emphasis of a review paper is interpreting the primary literature on the subject. You need to read several original research articles on the same topic and make your own conclusions about the meanings of those papers. Click here for advice on choosing a topic. Click here for advice on doing research on your topic. Overview of the Paper: Your paper should consist of four general sections:.
Review articles contain neither a materials and methods section nor an abstract. Organizing the Paper: Use topic headings. Do not use a topic heading that reads, "Body of the paper. Grab the reader's interest while introducing the topic. Explain the "big picture" relevance. So, a literature review sets the stage and justifies the purpose of a study, which builds close connection with the methodology chosen in the research.
A stand-alone literature review sometimes it is called a review article once it is published in comparison to research articles that collect and analyze data can be an assignment of the course you are taking. A stand-alone literature review can also be the outcome of an Independent Study project that you registered for. Both situations require that current knowledge of a specific topic should be collected, evaluated, summarized and synthesized, leading to an insightful argument or a meaningful conclusion.
Comparatively speaking, a literature review required by an Independent Study should demonstrate extensive and deep analysis, which leads to a systematic review. Identifying the right topic to review is the first, but crucial step in writing a good literature review.
Sometimes, your professor offers you a list of specific topics to choose from or asks you to create a research question from a list of broader topics that they supplied. If that is the case, things can be becoming easier.
Be aware that actually how much you understand the content taught in the class by your professor and how familiar you are with required and selective readings for the course will help you write a literature review that meets the assignment criteria. Sometimes, it is totally up to you to make the decision what topic you want to review. If the topic is too broad, your writing will become difficult to manage because you will be facing countless materials; if the topic is too narrow, it goes in the opposite direction because there is nothing much to read and write.
Choose something that you find interesting. Too broad or too specific of a focus will waste your time. To know how to narrow a broader research topic, please consult this libguide. Once you decide the appropriate topic, what comes next is to find things to read.
There are two categories of resources that you can actually utilize: scholarly resources and popular resources here is a link to a youtube video. Scholarly resources include empirical journal articles, dissertations, books, review articles, scholarly essays, textbooks, encyclopedias and dictionaries. Popular resources include nationally and international renowned magazines and newspapers. If you are working on a course assignment, keep in mind the criteria described in the assignment and understand what kind of materials are preferred.
For instance, your professor might put a limitation on the publication date and ask you to review scholarly articles published in the past ten years. Whatever resources you are looking for, please do take advantage of library services to find relevant ones: Databases by Subject and LibGuide. If you have any question or doubt, please contact the subject liaison librarian without hesitation. How to efficiently read collected materials is a personal and complex task.
My personal strategy is to read, organize, read again and reflect. I read every piece from its title to its reference list and try to understand as much as I can without doing much reflection or criticism in the first round. The benefit is three fold: gain a quick, general understanding of what I have collected and what is going on in the field; retrieve more relevant articles by checking the reference list; and organize my materials and decide what is to be kept and brought to the next stage of reading and what is to be discarded.
This time, I usually highlight key points, important sentences, mark questions, and take notes. I do not spend too much time reading part of articles that are less important or totally irrelevant to the topic. Reading is a personal activity and you can only develop your own strategies by reading more.
Writing is another personal and complex task. If it is your first time to write a literature review, try to write a summary of each material that you chose, identify similarities and differences of summaries, and then group them accordingly and reflect on the reasons.
If the literature review is part of a research article or a dissertation, pay attention to coherence with the preceding and succeeding sections. Basically, your writing should enable readers to feel like blood running in a vessel without any blockage. If you are working on a stand-alone literature review, such as for a course assignment, you should be aware of its basic structure: introduction, main body and conclusion. Generally speaking, the introduction provides the background or purpose of the literature review.
A straight-forward, informative, and strategically-led introduction will leave a good first impression on readers. The main body contains a review of the literature, logically and coherently, that you read. Depending on how long your paper is expected to be, it may involve headings and subheadings to indicate the theme of each section. How well the materials are categorized and how many notes are taken, organized, summarized, and reflected lay a good foundation for the main body of a literature review.
Finally, your literature review calls for a conclusion that demonstrates how well the question raised in the introduction has been answered and how well the goal of the review has been achieved. Do summarize and highlight what you have done in the conclusion. Do not add new, irrelevant arguments or information, which is distractive and confusing. The final part is to create a reference list that shows the materials that you consulted and used in the manuscript.
Be aware what citation style is preferred by the requirements of your writing assignment, proposal guideline, dissertation, or journal. You can also take advantage of Purdue Owl for instant and up-to-date examples and tutorials or the citation libguide for more information. If you want to improve and polish your writing techniques, please visit the Collaborative Learning Center , where one-on-one, small group and online writing tutoring are offered. If you have more questions, the reference desk provides walk-in services, or you could email us or contact subject liaison librarians for consultation.
Please take advantage of the database of Annual Review and you can find excellent review articles. It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results. How to Write a Literature Review: Home. Introduction This libguide offers an overview on how to write a literature review in general.
What is a literature review? What is the purpose of a literature review? How to choose a topic?
Reasons reviewers reject and accept manuscripts: the strengths and weaknesses in medical education reports. Academic medicine, 76 9 , Borja, A. Faber, J. Writing scientific manuscripts: most common mistakes. Dental press journal of orthodontics, 22 5 , Ghasemi, A. The principles of biomedical scientific writing: Materials and methods. International journal of endocrinology and metabolism, 17 1. Hoogenboom, B. How to write a scientific article.
International journal of sports physical therapy, 7 5 , Shah, J. Journal of Patan Academy of Health Sciences, 2 2 , Sharma, A. How to write an article: An introduction to basic scientific medical writing. Journal of minimal access surgery, 15 3 , Five common flaws that the reviewers find in a scientific article before rejecting are Bordage, : Small and biased samples Insufficient number of samples and incorrect research tools Incorrect description and inappropriate use of statistics Incorrect interpretation of the results Writing that is unclear and hard to follow The materials and methods section should include a clear and brief description of your research procedures.
A materials and methods section commonly has: The experimental materials The protocol The methods used to measure the results The methods used for data analysis The equipment used in your experiments The registration number of approval letter from an appropriate institution or ethics committee, if it is applicable. The Common Elements of Materials and Methods Materials You should always check the journal guidelines for the format of materials and methods section before you start writing.
Below are some common examples of experimental materials: Cell lines. Information about the sources, species, sex, and strains of the cell lines should be included. In addition to the chemical name, include amounts, volumes, concentration, the activity, the manufacturer, and its location. For the solutions, specify the solvent, pH, and temperature. Culture media and buffers. The appropriate details for culture media and buffers are the components, the concentrations, temperature, volume, and pH.
Methods The methods subheadings should have the details of your experimental design. Tips to write the materials and methods of scientific article Write methods in past tense. Ask other researchers not involved in your study to read it. After that, you can check if they understand the procedures. Use a logical and chronological order to organize the methods section. Describe statistical methods used for data analysis with all the necessary details and include the statistical significance level.
Organize the subheadings of the materials and methods in the same order as your result section. Related Articles. The materials and methods section or sometimes called the methods section is the heart of your sci A good research paper has both qualities of good studies and good writing Bordage, In additi This often requires doing some background reading, sometimes including some of the cited literature, about the theory presented in the manuscript. I then delve into the Methods and Results sections.
Are the methods suitable to investigate the research question and test the hypotheses? Would there have been a better way to test these hypotheses or to analyze these results? Is the statistical analysis sound and justified? Could I replicate the results using the information in the Methods and the description of the analysis?
I even selectively check individual numbers to see whether they are statistically plausible. I also carefully look at the explanation of the results and whether the conclusions the authors draw are justified and connected with the broader argument made in the paper. If there are any aspects of the manuscript that I am not familiar with, I try to read up on those topics or consult other colleagues.
I spend a fair amount of time looking at the figures. In addition to considering their overall quality, sometimes figures raise questions about the methods used to collect or analyze the data, or they fail to support a finding reported in the paper and warrant further clarification.
Conclusions that are overstated or out of sync with the findings will adversely impact my review and recommendations. I generally read on the computer and start with the Abstract to get an initial impression. Then I read the paper as a whole, thoroughly and from beginning to end, taking notes as I read.
For me, the first question is this: Is the research sound? And secondly, how can it be improved? Basically, I am looking to see if the research question is well motivated; if the data are sound; if the analyses are technically correct; and, most importantly, if the findings support the claims made in the paper. The main aspects I consider are the novelty of the article and its impact on the field. I always ask myself what makes this paper relevant and what new advance or contribution the paper represents.
Then I follow a routine that will help me evaluate this. I also consider whether the article contains a good Introduction and description of the state of the art, as that indirectly shows whether the authors have a good knowledge of the field. Second, I pay attention to the results and whether they have been compared with other similar published studies.
Third, I consider whether the results or the proposed methodology have some potential broader applicability or relevance, because in my opinion this is important. Finally, I evaluate whether the methodology used is appropriate. If the authors have presented a new tool or software, I will test it in detail. Using a copy of the manuscript that I first marked up with any questions that I had, I write a brief summary of what the paper is about and what I feel about its solidity. Then I run through the specific points I raised in my summary in more detail, in the order they appeared in the paper, providing page and paragraph numbers for most.
Finally comes a list of really minor stuff, which I try to keep to a minimum. If I feel there is some good material in the paper but it needs a lot of work, I will write a pretty long and specific review pointing out what the authors need to do.
If the paper has horrendous difficulties or a confused concept, I will specify that but will not do a lot of work to try to suggest fixes for every flaw. I never use value judgments or value-laden adjectives. Hopefully, this will be used to make the manuscript better rather than to shame anyone. I also try to cite a specific factual reason or some evidence for any major criticisms or suggestions that I make. After all, even though you were selected as an expert, for each review the editor has to decide how much they believe in your assessment.
I use annotations that I made in the PDF to start writing my review; that way I never forget to mention something that occurred to me while reading the paper. Unless the journal uses a structured review format, I usually begin my review with a general statement of my understanding of the paper and what it claims, followed by a paragraph offering an overall assessment.
Then I make specific comments on each section, listing the major questions or concerns. Depending on how much time I have, I sometimes also end with a section of minor comments. I try to be as constructive as possible.
A review is primarily for the benefit of the editor, to help them reach a decision about whether to publish or not, but I try to make my reviews useful for the authors as well. I always write my reviews as though I am talking to the scientists in person. I try hard to avoid rude or disparaging remarks. The review process is brutal enough scientifically without reviewers making it worse. Since obtaining tenure, I always sign my reviews. I believe it improves the transparency of the review process, and it also helps me police the quality of my own assessments by making me personally accountable.
After I have finished reading the manuscript, I let it sink in for a day or so and then I try to decide which aspects really matter. This helps me to distinguish between major and minor issues and also to group them thematically as I draft my review. My reviews usually start out with a short summary and a highlight of the strengths of the manuscript before briefly listing the weaknesses that I believe should be addressed. I try to link any criticism I have either to a page number or a quotation from the manuscript to ensure that my argument is understood.
I try to be constructive by suggesting ways to improve the problematic aspects, if that is possible, and also try to hit a calm and friendly but also neutral and objective tone. This is not always easy, especially if I discover what I think is a serious flaw in the manuscript. I try to write my reviews in a tone and form that I could put my name to, even though reviews in my field are usually double-blind and not signed.
I'm aiming to provide a comprehensive interpretation of the quality of the paper that will be of use to both the editor and the authors. I think a lot of reviewers approach a paper with the philosophy that they are there to identify flaws. But I only mention flaws if they matter, and I will make sure the review is constructive. I used to sign most of my reviews, but I don't do that anymore. If you make a practice of signing reviews, then over the years, many of your colleagues will have received reviews with your name on them.
Even if you are focused on writing quality reviews and being fair and collegial, it's inevitable that some colleagues will be less than appreciative about the content of the reviews. And if you identify a paper that you think has a substantial error that is not easily fixed, then the authors of this paper will find it hard to not hold a grudge.
I've known too many junior scientists who have been burned from signing their reviews early on in their careers. So now, I only sign my reviews so as to be fully transparent on the rare occasions when I suggest that the authors cite papers of mine, which I only do when my work will remedy factual errors or correct the claim that something has never been addressed before.
My review begins with a paragraph summarizing the paper. Then I have bullet points for major comments and for minor comments. Minor comments may include flagging the mislabeling of a figure in the text or a misspelling that changes the meaning of a common term. Overall, I try to make comments that would make the paper stronger. My tone is very formal, scientific, and in third person. I'm critiquing the work, not the authors.
If there is a major flaw or concern, I try to be honest and back it up with evidence. I start by making a bullet point list of the main strengths and weaknesses of the paper and then flesh out the review with details. I often refer back to my annotated version of the online paper. I usually differentiate between major and minor criticisms and word them as directly and concisely as possible. When I recommend revisions, I try to give clear, detailed feedback to guide the authors.
Even if a manuscript is rejected for publication, most authors can benefit from suggestions. I try to stick to the facts, so my writing tone tends toward neutral. Before submitting a review, I ask myself whether I would be comfortable if my identity as a reviewer was known to the authors. My reviews tend to take the form of a summary of the arguments in the paper, followed by a summary of my reactions and then a series of the specific points that I wanted to raise.
If I find the paper especially interesting and even if I am going to recommend rejection , I tend to give a more detailed review because I want to encourage the authors to develop the paper or, maybe, to do a new paper along the lines suggested in the review. My tone is one of trying to be constructive and helpful even though, of course, the authors might not agree with that characterization.
I try to act as a neutral, curious reader who wants to understand every detail. If there are things I struggle with, I will suggest that the authors revise parts of their paper to make it more solid or broadly accessible. I want to give them honest feedback of the same type that I hope to receive when I submit a paper. I start with a brief summary of the results and conclusions as a way to show that I have understood the paper and have a general opinion. I always comment on the form of the paper, highlighting whether it is well written, has correct grammar, and follows a correct structure.
Then, I divide the review in two sections with bullet points, first listing the most critical aspects that the authors must address to better demonstrate the quality and novelty of the paper and then more minor points such as misspelling and figure format. When you deliver criticism, your comments should be honest but always respectful and accompanied with suggestions to improve the manuscript.
I make a decision after drafting my review. I usually sit on the review for a day and then reread it to be sure it is balanced and fair before deciding anything. I only make a recommendation to accept, revise, or reject if the journal specifically requests one. The decision is made by the editor, and my job as a reviewer is to provide a nuanced and detailed report on the paper to support the editor. The decision comes along during reading and making notes. If there are serious mistakes or missing parts, then I do not recommend publication.
I usually write down all the things that I noticed, good and bad, so my decision does not influence the content and length of my review. In my experience, most papers go through several rounds of revisions before I would recommend them for publication. However, if the mechanism being tested does not really provide new knowledge, or if the method and study design are of insufficient quality, then my hopes for a manuscript are rather low.
The length and content of my reviews generally do not relate to the outcome of my decisions. I usually write rather lengthy reviews at the first round of the revision process, and these tend to get shorter as the manuscript then improves in quality. Publication is not a binary recommendation. And we never know what findings will amount to in a few years; many breakthrough studies were not recognized as such for many years.
So I can only rate what priority I believe the paper should receive for publication today. If the research presented in the paper has serious flaws, I am inclined to recommend rejection, unless the shortcoming can be remedied with a reasonable amount of revising. Also, I take the point of view that if the author cannot convincingly explain her study and findings to an informed reader, then the paper has not met the burden for acceptance in the journal.
My recommendations are inversely proportional to the length of my reviews. Short reviews translate into strong recommendations and vice versa. This varies widely, from a few minutes if there is clearly a major problem with the paper to half a day if the paper is really interesting but there are aspects that I don't understand. Occasionally, there are difficulties with a potentially publishable article that I think I can't properly assess in half a day, in which case I will return the paper to the journal with an explanation and a suggestion for an expert who might be closer to that aspect of the research.
It usually takes me a few hours. Most of the time is spent closely reading the paper and taking notes. Once I have the notes, writing the review itself generally takes less than an hour. It can take me quite a long time to write a good review, sometimes a full day of work and sometimes even longer. The detailed reading and the sense-making process, in particular, takes a long time.
A few hours. I like to use two sittings, even when I am pretty sure of my conclusions. Waiting another day always seems to improve the review. Normally, a peer review takes me 1 or 2 days, including reading the supporting information. I almost always do it in one sitting, anything from 1 to 5 hours depending on the length of the paper.
In my experience, the submission deadline for reviews usually ranges between 3 working days to up to 3 weeks.
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