How to Write a Review Paper

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Originally published Jul 02, 2017, updated Apr 29, 2021
How to Write a Review Paper

The purpose of writing a good review paper is to critically analyze different research articles, data, and information in them. For writing a review article, you must gather different sources of knowledge relevant to the paper. To help you write a great review paper, take a look at these important tips:

  • Select an appropriate topic and try to get your head around it;
  • Cite the latest sources relevant to your topic;
  • Highlight gaps in recent studies that you should critically analyze;
  • Set out your methodology in a detailed methods section;
  • When submitting, make sure it is free of plagiarism.

If you are to writing a review article for the first time, then you are bound to feel perplexed. But don't worry, here is a simple way to create a systematic review.

Check Out the Journal's Guidelines

Various journals have different guidelines and accept particular research papers. Not all of them will be interested in publishing review articles. Check out if the source you are planning to submit your review will accept it or not.

Select the Topic

Choose the right topic for your review. If your topic is unique, then it will add more value to the field of study. You must introduce it in the beginning paragraph. Remember, your topic should cater to any gap in the current field of study. When choosing the right topic of research, you must follow these guidelines:

  • Discuss it with different scholars and teachers before choosing the topic;
  • Brainstorm various ideas, but only after analyzing the current field of study;
  • Select a topic on which you can easily gather relevant data and literature review;
  • Make sure you can easily write on the topic, and you like it;
  • Choose the relevant keywords and incorporate them when you sit down to write;
  • Make sure your topic addresses a list of research questions;
  • Do not forget to do some background reading and quickly search relevant information before selecting a topic.

Some ways to limit a particular topic are first writing down the study area and then narrowing it down based on the most recent study on the topic. Ask yourself relevant questions. Let's say you want to do your research on the environment. Then, instead of writing all about climate change, you can talk about the negative effects of Ozone depletion on the environment. Your chosen topic can be:

  • How are plastic bags causing Ozone depletion?
  • How to reduce the negative effects of Ozone depletion?

Mention Scope of the Review Paper

One of the key elements of a review paper is that it contributes something new to the existing research and study field. If, for instance, you are writing a scientific review, then take a look at the existing studies and address important gaps in the field. Pose proper research questions that could address any underlying problem in the particular field of study. Make sure the scope is neither small nor large.

Evaluate the Sources of Literature Review

When finding the sources to evaluate, you must use multiple search databases to not miss out on any important information or research article. This way, you will have gathered all the major points in the research. Remember to pick the most recent studies on the subject so that not only you have diversified information, but it is also relevant to the topic you have chosen. When writing a literature review, make sure to follow these tips:

  • Save all the research papers you intend to use in the paper;
  • Make a list of papers that you couldn't get access to at the moment; Maybe you will able to find those research articles through other sources later;
  • Register yourself to a site that is a repertoire of journal articles;
  • Narrow down your scope of the study, which will help you gather only relevant articles for your literature review;
  • Have a thorough understanding of the topic;
  • Have a good collection of old, as well as recent studies, so you not only summarize it but add more value to it;
  • Always mention authors and co-authors when writing a literature review.

Mention the Title, Abstract, and Keywords

Write a compelling title and abstract using relevant keywords. This will help showcase the article online. Incorporate keywords in the subheadings to cover all the main points, and the relevant readers find your research.

Your review article's ranking will increase, and your name as an author will become more prominent. In this digital age, this is perhaps one of the most important tips to highlight your work and give it more visibility. You can also appear in google scholar citations.

Make a Discussion

In order to write a plagiarism-free review article, you shouldn't just summarize it but critically analyze and discuss all aspects of the paper. Ensure that you are addressing various research questions and also contributing to the existing field of study. During the discussion, analyze the entire topic and not only one aspect of it.

Being unique, concise, clear, and informative are key elements of critically reviewing an article. Include an element of debate. You can also resolve a conflict of interest between two previously published research articles. Compellingly present your point of view. Here is a piece of advice for you:

  • Use different points of view so that you can compare and contrast relevant data and information;
  • Analyze like a philosopher and present both sides of the story;
  • Be concise and do not go for lengthy explanations;
  • Review and present ideas from different published articles;
  • Use contradictory opinions to validate and corroborate information and data you have used in the article.

Write a Conclusion

When rounding up your article, you must sum up the research paper and make suggestions regarding the future work fields and what topics can be used. Your conclusion is the essence and gist of the entire research paper. You have to summarize and suggest the futuristic scope of the topic under review.

It has to be concise, crisp, and clear. Avoid using difficult words and understand the purpose of a good conclusion. No need to elaborate and use heavy-sounding words that are difficult to understand.

Proofread and Edit

Once the review article is done, you must proofread and edit the document. This will help identify typo errors. Make sure to write the article and give it two days. Review and analyze the document with a fresh mind sometime later. You will be able to identify possible mistakes, language issues, and also, if there is any key information missing, you can quickly fix that.

This simple guide to writing a review paper will help you earn a good grade.

Angelina Grin
Creative Writer and Blog Editor

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