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How to Write an Article Review

Last Updated: September 8, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 3,064,412 times.

An article review is both a summary and an evaluation of another writer's article. Teachers often assign article reviews to introduce students to the work of experts in the field. Experts also are often asked to review the work of other professionals. Understanding the main points and arguments of the article is essential for an accurate summation. Logical evaluation of the article's main theme, supporting arguments, and implications for further research is an important element of a review . Here are a few guidelines for writing an article review.

Education specialist Alexander Peterman recommends: "In the case of a review, your objective should be to reflect on the effectiveness of what has already been written, rather than writing to inform your audience about a subject."

Things You Should Know

  • Read the article very closely, and then take time to reflect on your evaluation. Consider whether the article effectively achieves what it set out to.
  • Write out a full article review by completing your intro, summary, evaluation, and conclusion. Don't forget to add a title, too!
  • Proofread your review for mistakes (like grammar and usage), while also cutting down on needless information. [1] X Research source

Preparing to Write Your Review

Step 1 Understand what an article review is.

  • Article reviews present more than just an opinion. You will engage with the text to create a response to the scholarly writer's ideas. You will respond to and use ideas, theories, and research from your studies. Your critique of the article will be based on proof and your own thoughtful reasoning.
  • An article review only responds to the author's research. It typically does not provide any new research. However, if you are correcting misleading or otherwise incorrect points, some new data may be presented.
  • An article review both summarizes and evaluates the article.

Step 2 Think about the organization of the review article.

  • Summarize the article. Focus on the important points, claims, and information.
  • Discuss the positive aspects of the article. Think about what the author does well, good points she makes, and insightful observations.
  • Identify contradictions, gaps, and inconsistencies in the text. Determine if there is enough data or research included to support the author's claims. Find any unanswered questions left in the article.

Step 3 Preview the article.

  • Make note of words or issues you don't understand and questions you have.
  • Look up terms or concepts you are unfamiliar with, so you can fully understand the article. Read about concepts in-depth to make sure you understand their full context.

Step 4 Read the article closely.

  • Pay careful attention to the meaning of the article. Make sure you fully understand the article. The only way to write a good article review is to understand the article.

Step 5 Put the article into your words.

  • With either method, make an outline of the main points made in the article and the supporting research or arguments. It is strictly a restatement of the main points of the article and does not include your opinions.
  • After putting the article in your own words, decide which parts of the article you want to discuss in your review. You can focus on the theoretical approach, the content, the presentation or interpretation of evidence, or the style. You will always discuss the main issues of the article, but you can sometimes also focus on certain aspects. This comes in handy if you want to focus the review towards the content of a course.
  • Review the summary outline to eliminate unnecessary items. Erase or cross out the less important arguments or supplemental information. Your revised summary can serve as the basis for the summary you provide at the beginning of your review.

Step 6 Write an outline of your evaluation.

  • What does the article set out to do?
  • What is the theoretical framework or assumptions?
  • Are the central concepts clearly defined?
  • How adequate is the evidence?
  • How does the article fit into the literature and field?
  • Does it advance the knowledge of the subject?
  • How clear is the author's writing? Don't: include superficial opinions or your personal reaction. Do: pay attention to your biases, so you can overcome them.

Writing the Article Review

Step 1 Come up with...

  • For example, in MLA , a citation may look like: Duvall, John N. "The (Super)Marketplace of Images: Television as Unmediated Mediation in DeLillo's White Noise ." Arizona Quarterly 50.3 (1994): 127-53. Print. [10] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source

Step 3 Identify the article.

  • For example: The article, "Condom use will increase the spread of AIDS," was written by Anthony Zimmerman, a Catholic priest.

Step 4 Write the introduction....

  • Your introduction should only be 10-25% of your review.
  • End the introduction with your thesis. Your thesis should address the above issues. For example: Although the author has some good points, his article is biased and contains some misinterpretation of data from others’ analysis of the effectiveness of the condom.

Step 5 Summarize the article.

  • Use direct quotes from the author sparingly.
  • Review the summary you have written. Read over your summary many times to ensure that your words are an accurate description of the author's article.

Step 6 Write your critique.

  • Support your critique with evidence from the article or other texts.
  • The summary portion is very important for your critique. You must make the author's argument clear in the summary section for your evaluation to make sense.
  • Remember, this is not where you say if you liked the article or not. You are assessing the significance and relevance of the article.
  • Use a topic sentence and supportive arguments for each opinion. For example, you might address a particular strength in the first sentence of the opinion section, followed by several sentences elaborating on the significance of the point.

Step 7 Conclude the article review.

  • This should only be about 10% of your overall essay.
  • For example: This critical review has evaluated the article "Condom use will increase the spread of AIDS" by Anthony Zimmerman. The arguments in the article show the presence of bias, prejudice, argumentative writing without supporting details, and misinformation. These points weaken the author’s arguments and reduce his credibility.

Step 8 Proofread.

  • Make sure you have identified and discussed the 3-4 key issues in the article.

Sample Article Reviews

how to write findings in article review

Expert Q&A

Jake Adams

You Might Also Like

Write Articles

  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/grammarpunct/proofreading/
  • ↑ https://libguides.cmich.edu/writinghelp/articlereview
  • ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4548566/
  • ↑ Jake Adams. Academic Tutor & Test Prep Specialist. Expert Interview. 24 July 2020.
  • ↑ https://guides.library.queensu.ca/introduction-research/writing/critical
  • ↑ https://www.iup.edu/writingcenter/writing-resources/organization-and-structure/creating-an-outline.html
  • ↑ https://writing.umn.edu/sws/assets/pdf/quicktips/titles.pdf
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_periodicals.html
  • ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4548565/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/593/2014/06/How_to_Summarize_a_Research_Article1.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.uis.edu/learning-hub/writing-resources/handouts/learning-hub/how-to-review-a-journal-article
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/

About This Article

Jake Adams

If you have to write an article review, read through the original article closely, taking notes and highlighting important sections as you read. Next, rewrite the article in your own words, either in a long paragraph or as an outline. Open your article review by citing the article, then write an introduction which states the article’s thesis. Next, summarize the article, followed by your opinion about whether the article was clear, thorough, and useful. Finish with a paragraph that summarizes the main points of the article and your opinions. To learn more about what to include in your personal critique of the article, keep reading the article! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Research Method

Home » Research Findings – Types Examples and Writing Guide

Research Findings – Types Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Research Findings

Research Findings

Definition:

Research findings refer to the results obtained from a study or investigation conducted through a systematic and scientific approach. These findings are the outcomes of the data analysis, interpretation, and evaluation carried out during the research process.

Types of Research Findings

There are two main types of research findings:

Qualitative Findings

Qualitative research is an exploratory research method used to understand the complexities of human behavior and experiences. Qualitative findings are non-numerical and descriptive data that describe the meaning and interpretation of the data collected. Examples of qualitative findings include quotes from participants, themes that emerge from the data, and descriptions of experiences and phenomena.

Quantitative Findings

Quantitative research is a research method that uses numerical data and statistical analysis to measure and quantify a phenomenon or behavior. Quantitative findings include numerical data such as mean, median, and mode, as well as statistical analyses such as t-tests, ANOVA, and regression analysis. These findings are often presented in tables, graphs, or charts.

Both qualitative and quantitative findings are important in research and can provide different insights into a research question or problem. Combining both types of findings can provide a more comprehensive understanding of a phenomenon and improve the validity and reliability of research results.

Parts of Research Findings

Research findings typically consist of several parts, including:

  • Introduction: This section provides an overview of the research topic and the purpose of the study.
  • Literature Review: This section summarizes previous research studies and findings that are relevant to the current study.
  • Methodology : This section describes the research design, methods, and procedures used in the study, including details on the sample, data collection, and data analysis.
  • Results : This section presents the findings of the study, including statistical analyses and data visualizations.
  • Discussion : This section interprets the results and explains what they mean in relation to the research question(s) and hypotheses. It may also compare and contrast the current findings with previous research studies and explore any implications or limitations of the study.
  • Conclusion : This section provides a summary of the key findings and the main conclusions of the study.
  • Recommendations: This section suggests areas for further research and potential applications or implications of the study’s findings.

How to Write Research Findings

Writing research findings requires careful planning and attention to detail. Here are some general steps to follow when writing research findings:

  • Organize your findings: Before you begin writing, it’s essential to organize your findings logically. Consider creating an outline or a flowchart that outlines the main points you want to make and how they relate to one another.
  • Use clear and concise language : When presenting your findings, be sure to use clear and concise language that is easy to understand. Avoid using jargon or technical terms unless they are necessary to convey your meaning.
  • Use visual aids : Visual aids such as tables, charts, and graphs can be helpful in presenting your findings. Be sure to label and title your visual aids clearly, and make sure they are easy to read.
  • Use headings and subheadings: Using headings and subheadings can help organize your findings and make them easier to read. Make sure your headings and subheadings are clear and descriptive.
  • Interpret your findings : When presenting your findings, it’s important to provide some interpretation of what the results mean. This can include discussing how your findings relate to the existing literature, identifying any limitations of your study, and suggesting areas for future research.
  • Be precise and accurate : When presenting your findings, be sure to use precise and accurate language. Avoid making generalizations or overstatements and be careful not to misrepresent your data.
  • Edit and revise: Once you have written your research findings, be sure to edit and revise them carefully. Check for grammar and spelling errors, make sure your formatting is consistent, and ensure that your writing is clear and concise.

Research Findings Example

Following is a Research Findings Example sample for students:

Title: The Effects of Exercise on Mental Health

Sample : 500 participants, both men and women, between the ages of 18-45.

Methodology : Participants were divided into two groups. The first group engaged in 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five times a week for eight weeks. The second group did not exercise during the study period. Participants in both groups completed a questionnaire that assessed their mental health before and after the study period.

Findings : The group that engaged in regular exercise reported a significant improvement in mental health compared to the control group. Specifically, they reported lower levels of anxiety and depression, improved mood, and increased self-esteem.

Conclusion : Regular exercise can have a positive impact on mental health and may be an effective intervention for individuals experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Applications of Research Findings

Research findings can be applied in various fields to improve processes, products, services, and outcomes. Here are some examples:

  • Healthcare : Research findings in medicine and healthcare can be applied to improve patient outcomes, reduce morbidity and mortality rates, and develop new treatments for various diseases.
  • Education : Research findings in education can be used to develop effective teaching methods, improve learning outcomes, and design new educational programs.
  • Technology : Research findings in technology can be applied to develop new products, improve existing products, and enhance user experiences.
  • Business : Research findings in business can be applied to develop new strategies, improve operations, and increase profitability.
  • Public Policy: Research findings can be used to inform public policy decisions on issues such as environmental protection, social welfare, and economic development.
  • Social Sciences: Research findings in social sciences can be used to improve understanding of human behavior and social phenomena, inform public policy decisions, and develop interventions to address social issues.
  • Agriculture: Research findings in agriculture can be applied to improve crop yields, develop new farming techniques, and enhance food security.
  • Sports : Research findings in sports can be applied to improve athlete performance, reduce injuries, and develop new training programs.

When to use Research Findings

Research findings can be used in a variety of situations, depending on the context and the purpose. Here are some examples of when research findings may be useful:

  • Decision-making : Research findings can be used to inform decisions in various fields, such as business, education, healthcare, and public policy. For example, a business may use market research findings to make decisions about new product development or marketing strategies.
  • Problem-solving : Research findings can be used to solve problems or challenges in various fields, such as healthcare, engineering, and social sciences. For example, medical researchers may use findings from clinical trials to develop new treatments for diseases.
  • Policy development : Research findings can be used to inform the development of policies in various fields, such as environmental protection, social welfare, and economic development. For example, policymakers may use research findings to develop policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Program evaluation: Research findings can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of programs or interventions in various fields, such as education, healthcare, and social services. For example, educational researchers may use findings from evaluations of educational programs to improve teaching and learning outcomes.
  • Innovation: Research findings can be used to inspire or guide innovation in various fields, such as technology and engineering. For example, engineers may use research findings on materials science to develop new and innovative products.

Purpose of Research Findings

The purpose of research findings is to contribute to the knowledge and understanding of a particular topic or issue. Research findings are the result of a systematic and rigorous investigation of a research question or hypothesis, using appropriate research methods and techniques.

The main purposes of research findings are:

  • To generate new knowledge : Research findings contribute to the body of knowledge on a particular topic, by adding new information, insights, and understanding to the existing knowledge base.
  • To test hypotheses or theories : Research findings can be used to test hypotheses or theories that have been proposed in a particular field or discipline. This helps to determine the validity and reliability of the hypotheses or theories, and to refine or develop new ones.
  • To inform practice: Research findings can be used to inform practice in various fields, such as healthcare, education, and business. By identifying best practices and evidence-based interventions, research findings can help practitioners to make informed decisions and improve outcomes.
  • To identify gaps in knowledge: Research findings can help to identify gaps in knowledge and understanding of a particular topic, which can then be addressed by further research.
  • To contribute to policy development: Research findings can be used to inform policy development in various fields, such as environmental protection, social welfare, and economic development. By providing evidence-based recommendations, research findings can help policymakers to develop effective policies that address societal challenges.

Characteristics of Research Findings

Research findings have several key characteristics that distinguish them from other types of information or knowledge. Here are some of the main characteristics of research findings:

  • Objective : Research findings are based on a systematic and rigorous investigation of a research question or hypothesis, using appropriate research methods and techniques. As such, they are generally considered to be more objective and reliable than other types of information.
  • Empirical : Research findings are based on empirical evidence, which means that they are derived from observations or measurements of the real world. This gives them a high degree of credibility and validity.
  • Generalizable : Research findings are often intended to be generalizable to a larger population or context beyond the specific study. This means that the findings can be applied to other situations or populations with similar characteristics.
  • Transparent : Research findings are typically reported in a transparent manner, with a clear description of the research methods and data analysis techniques used. This allows others to assess the credibility and reliability of the findings.
  • Peer-reviewed: Research findings are often subject to a rigorous peer-review process, in which experts in the field review the research methods, data analysis, and conclusions of the study. This helps to ensure the validity and reliability of the findings.
  • Reproducible : Research findings are often designed to be reproducible, meaning that other researchers can replicate the study using the same methods and obtain similar results. This helps to ensure the validity and reliability of the findings.

Advantages of Research Findings

Research findings have many advantages, which make them valuable sources of knowledge and information. Here are some of the main advantages of research findings:

  • Evidence-based: Research findings are based on empirical evidence, which means that they are grounded in data and observations from the real world. This makes them a reliable and credible source of information.
  • Inform decision-making: Research findings can be used to inform decision-making in various fields, such as healthcare, education, and business. By identifying best practices and evidence-based interventions, research findings can help practitioners and policymakers to make informed decisions and improve outcomes.
  • Identify gaps in knowledge: Research findings can help to identify gaps in knowledge and understanding of a particular topic, which can then be addressed by further research. This contributes to the ongoing development of knowledge in various fields.
  • Improve outcomes : Research findings can be used to develop and implement evidence-based practices and interventions, which have been shown to improve outcomes in various fields, such as healthcare, education, and social services.
  • Foster innovation: Research findings can inspire or guide innovation in various fields, such as technology and engineering. By providing new information and understanding of a particular topic, research findings can stimulate new ideas and approaches to problem-solving.
  • Enhance credibility: Research findings are generally considered to be more credible and reliable than other types of information, as they are based on rigorous research methods and are subject to peer-review processes.

Limitations of Research Findings

While research findings have many advantages, they also have some limitations. Here are some of the main limitations of research findings:

  • Limited scope: Research findings are typically based on a particular study or set of studies, which may have a limited scope or focus. This means that they may not be applicable to other contexts or populations.
  • Potential for bias : Research findings can be influenced by various sources of bias, such as researcher bias, selection bias, or measurement bias. This can affect the validity and reliability of the findings.
  • Ethical considerations: Research findings can raise ethical considerations, particularly in studies involving human subjects. Researchers must ensure that their studies are conducted in an ethical and responsible manner, with appropriate measures to protect the welfare and privacy of participants.
  • Time and resource constraints : Research studies can be time-consuming and require significant resources, which can limit the number and scope of studies that are conducted. This can lead to gaps in knowledge or a lack of research on certain topics.
  • Complexity: Some research findings can be complex and difficult to interpret, particularly in fields such as science or medicine. This can make it challenging for practitioners and policymakers to apply the findings to their work.
  • Lack of generalizability : While research findings are intended to be generalizable to larger populations or contexts, there may be factors that limit their generalizability. For example, cultural or environmental factors may influence how a particular intervention or treatment works in different populations or contexts.

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How to Write an Article Review: Template & Examples

An article review is an academic assignment that invites you to study a piece of academic research closely. Then, you should present its summary and critically evaluate it using the knowledge you’ve gained in class and during your independent study. If you get such a task at college or university, you shouldn’t confuse it with a response paper, which is a distinct assignment with other purposes (we’ll talk about it in detail below).

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In this article, prepared by Custom-Writing experts, you’ll find: 

  • the intricacies of article review writing;
  • the difference between an article review and similar assignments;
  • a step-by-step algorithm for review composition;
  • a couple of samples to guide you throughout the writing process.

So, if you wish to study our article review example and discover helpful writing tips, keep reading.

❓ What Is an Article Review?

  • ✍️ Writing Steps

📑 Article Review Format

🔗 references.

An article review is an academic paper that summarizes and critically evaluates the information presented in your selected article. 

This image shows what an article review is.

The first thing you should note when approaching the task of an article review is that not every article is suitable for this assignment. Let’s have a look at the variety of articles to understand what you can choose from.

Popular Vs. Scholarly Articles

In most cases, you’ll be required to review a scholarly, peer-reviewed article – one composed in compliance with rigorous academic standards. Yet, the Web is also full of popular articles that don’t present original scientific value and shouldn’t be selected for a review.  

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Not sure how to distinguish these two types? Here is a comparative table to help you out.

Article Review vs. Response Paper

Now, let’s consider the difference between an article review and a response paper:

  • If you’re assigned to critique a scholarly article , you will need to compose an article review .  
  • If your subject of analysis is a popular article , you can respond to it with a well-crafted response paper .  

The reason for such distinctions is the quality and structure of these two article types. Peer-reviewed, scholarly articles have clear-cut quality criteria, allowing you to conduct and present a structured assessment of the assigned material. Popular magazines have loose or non-existent quality criteria and don’t offer an opportunity for structured evaluation. So, they are only fit for a subjective response, in which you can summarize your reactions and emotions related to the reading material.  

All in all, you can structure your response assignments as outlined in the tips below.

✍️ How to Write an Article Review: Step by Step

Here is a tried and tested algorithm for article review writing from our experts. We’ll consider only the critical review variety of this academic assignment. So, let’s get down to the stages you need to cover to get a stellar review.  

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Read the Article

As with any reviews, reports, and critiques, you must first familiarize yourself with the assigned material. It’s impossible to review something you haven’t read, so set some time for close, careful reading of the article to identify:

  • Its topic.  
  • Its type.  
  • The author’s main points and message. 
  • The arguments they use to prove their points. 
  • The methodology they use to approach the subject. 

In terms of research type , your article will usually belong to one of three types explained below. 

Summarize the Article

Now that you’ve read the text and have a general impression of the content, it’s time to summarize it for your readers. Look into the article’s text closely to determine:

  • The thesis statement , or general message of the author.  
  • Research question, purpose, and context of research.  
  • Supporting points for the author’s assumptions and claims.  
  • Major findings and supporting evidence.  

As you study the article thoroughly, make notes on the margins or write these elements out on a sheet of paper. You can also apply a different technique: read the text section by section and formulate its gist in one phrase or sentence. Once you’re done, you’ll have a summary skeleton in front of you.

Evaluate the Article

The next step of review is content evaluation. Keep in mind that various research types will require a different set of review questions. Here is a complete list of evaluation points you can include.

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Write the Text

After completing the critical review stage, it’s time to compose your article review.

The format of this assignment is standard – you will have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The introduction should present your article and summarize its content. The body will contain a structured review according to all four dimensions covered in the previous section. The concluding part will typically recap all the main points you’ve identified during your assessment.  

It is essential to note that an article review is, first of all, an academic assignment. Therefore, it should follow all rules and conventions of academic composition, such as:

  • No contractions . Don’t use short forms, such as “don’t,” “can’t,” “I’ll,” etc. in academic writing. You need to spell out all those words.  
  • Formal language and style . Avoid conversational phrasing and words that you would naturally use in blog posts or informal communication. For example, don’t use words like “pretty,” “kind of,” and “like.”  
  • Third-person narrative . Academic reviews should be written from the third-person point of view, avoiding statements like “I think,” “in my opinion,” and so on.  
  • No conversational forms . You shouldn’t turn to your readers directly in the text by addressing them with the pronoun “you.” It’s vital to keep the narrative neutral and impersonal.  
  • Proper abbreviation use . Consult the list of correct abbreviations , like “e.g.” or “i.e.,” for use in your academic writing. If you use informal abbreviations like “FYA” or “f.i.,” your professor will reduce the grade.  
  • Complete sentences . Make sure your sentences contain the subject and the predicate; avoid shortened or sketch-form phrases suitable for a draft only.  
  • No conjunctions at the beginning of a sentence . Remember the FANBOYS rule – don’t start a sentence with words like “and” or “but.” They often seem the right way to build a coherent narrative, but academic writing rules disfavor such usage.  
  • No abbreviations or figures at the beginning of a sentence . Never start a sentence with a number — spell it out if you need to use it anyway. Besides, sentences should never begin with abbreviations like “e.g.”  

Finally, a vital rule for an article review is properly formatting the citations. We’ll discuss the correct use of citation styles in the following section.

When composing an article review, keep these points in mind:

  • Start with a full reference to the reviewed article so the reader can locate it quickly.  
  • Ensure correct formatting of in-text references.  
  • Provide a complete list of used external sources on the last page of the review – your bibliographical entries .  

You’ll need to understand the rules of your chosen citation style to meet all these requirements. Below, we’ll discuss the two most common referencing styles – APA and MLA.

Article Review in APA

When you need to compose an article review in the APA format , here is the general bibliographical entry format you should use for journal articles on your reference page:  

  • Author’s last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year of Publication). Name of the article. Name of the Journal, volume (number), pp. #-#. https://doi.org/xx.xxx/yyyy

Horigian, V. E., Schmidt, R. D., & Feaster, D. J. (2021). Loneliness, mental health, and substance use among US young adults during COVID-19. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 53 (1), pp. 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2020.1836435

Your in-text citations should follow the author-date format like this:

  • If you paraphrase the source and mention the author in the text: According to Horigian et al. (2021), young adults experienced increased levels of loneliness, depression, and anxiety during the pandemic. 
  • If you paraphrase the source and don’t mention the author in the text: Young adults experienced increased levels of loneliness, depression, and anxiety during the pandemic (Horigian et al., 2021). 
  • If you quote the source: As Horigian et al. (2021) point out, there were “elevated levels of loneliness, depression, anxiety, alcohol use, and drug use among young adults during COVID-19” (p. 6). 

Note that your in-text citations should include “et al.,” as in the examples above, if your article has 3 or more authors. If you have one or two authors, your in-text citations would look like this:

  • One author: “According to Smith (2020), depression is…” or “Depression is … (Smith, 2020).”
  • Two authors: “According to Smith and Brown (2020), anxiety means…” or “Anxiety means (Smith & Brown, 2020).”

Finally, in case you have to review a book or a website article, here are the general formats for citing these source types on your APA reference list.

Article Review in MLA

If your assignment requires MLA-format referencing, here’s the general format you should use for citing journal articles on your Works Cited page: 

  • Author’s last name, First name. “Title of an Article.” Title of the Journal , vol. #, no. #, year, pp. #-#. 

Horigian, Viviana E., et al. “Loneliness, Mental Health, and Substance Use Among US Young Adults During COVID-19.” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs , vol. 53, no. 1, 2021, pp. 1-9.

In-text citations in the MLA format follow the author-page citation format and look like this:

  • According to Horigian et al., young adults experienced increased levels of loneliness, depression, and anxiety during the pandemic (6).
  • Young adults experienced increased levels of loneliness, depression, and anxiety during the pandemic (Horigian et al. 6).

Like in APA, the abbreviation “et al.” is only needed in MLA if your article has 3 or more authors.

If you need to cite a book or a website page, here are the general MLA formats for these types of sources.

✅ Article Review Template

Here is a handy, universal article review template to help you move on with any review assignment. We’ve tried to make it as generic as possible to guide you in the academic process.

📝 Article Review Examples

The theory is good, but practice is even better. Thus, we’ve created three brief examples to show you how to write an article review. You can study the full-text samples by following the links.

📃 Men, Women, & Money   

This article review examines a famous piece, “Men, Women & Money – How the Sexes Differ with Their Finances,” published by Amy Livingston in 2020. The author of this article claims that men generally spend more money than women. She makes this conclusion from a close analysis of gender-specific expenditures across five main categories: food, clothing, cars, entertainment, and general spending patterns. Livingston also looks at men’s approach to saving to argue that counter to the common perception of women’s light-hearted attitude to money, men are those who spend more on average.  

📃 When and Why Nationalism Beats Globalism   

This is a review of Jonathan Heidt’s 2016 article titled “When and Why Nationalism Beats Globalism,” written as an advocacy of right-wing populism rising in many Western states. The author illustrates the case with the election of Donald Trump as the US President and the rise of right-wing rhetoric in many Western countries. These examples show how nationalist sentiment represents a reaction to global immigration and a failure of globalization.  

📃 Sleep Deprivation   

This is a review of the American Heart Association’s article titled “The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation.” It discusses how the national organization concerned with the American population’s cardiovascular health links the lack of high-quality sleep to far-reaching health consequences. The organization’s experts reveal how a consistent lack of sleep leads to Alzheimer’s disease development, obesity, type 2 diabetes, etc.  

✏️ Article Review FAQ

A high-quality article review should summarize the assigned article’s content and offer data-backed reactions and evaluations of its quality in terms of the article’s purpose, methodology, and data used to argue the main points. It should be detailed, comprehensive, objective, and evidence-based.

The purpose of writing a review is to allow students to reflect on research quality and showcase their critical thinking and evaluation skills. Students should exhibit their mastery of close reading of research publications and their unbiased assessment.

The content of your article review will be the same in any format, with the only difference in the assignment’s formatting before submission. Ensure you have a separate title page made according to APA standards and cite sources using the parenthetical author-date referencing format.

You need to take a closer look at various dimensions of an assigned article to compose a valuable review. Study the author’s object of analysis, the purpose of their research, the chosen method, data, and findings. Evaluate all these dimensions critically to see whether the author has achieved the initial goals. Finally, offer improvement recommendations to add a critique aspect to your paper.

  • Scientific Article Review: Duke University  
  • Book and Article Reviews: William & Mary, Writing Resources Center  
  • Sample Format for Reviewing a Journal Article: Boonshoft School of Medicine  
  • Research Paper Review – Structure and Format Guidelines: New Jersey Institute of Technology  
  • Article Review: University of Waterloo  
  • Article Review: University of South Australia  
  • How to Write a Journal Article Review: University of Newcastle Library Guides  
  • Writing Help: The Article Review: Central Michigan University Libraries  
  • Write a Critical Review of a Scientific Journal Article: McLaughlin Library  
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how to write findings in article review

How to Write an Article Review: Tips and Examples

how to write findings in article review

Did you know that article reviews are not just academic exercises but also a valuable skill in today's information age? In a world inundated with content, being able to dissect and evaluate articles critically can help you separate the wheat from the chaff. Whether you're a student aiming to excel in your coursework or a professional looking to stay well-informed, mastering the art of writing article reviews is an invaluable skill.

Short Description

In this article, our research paper writing service experts will start by unraveling the concept of article reviews and discussing the various types. You'll also gain insights into the art of formatting your review effectively. To ensure you're well-prepared, we'll take you through the pre-writing process, offering tips on setting the stage for your review. But it doesn't stop there. You'll find a practical example of an article review to help you grasp the concepts in action. To complete your journey, we'll guide you through the post-writing process, equipping you with essential proofreading techniques to ensure your work shines with clarity and precision!

What Is an Article Review: Grasping the Concept 

A review article is a type of professional paper writing that demands a high level of in-depth analysis and a well-structured presentation of arguments. It is a critical, constructive evaluation of literature in a particular field through summary, classification, analysis, and comparison.

If you write a scientific review, you have to use database searches to portray the research. Your primary goal is to summarize everything and present a clear understanding of the topic you've been working on.

Writing Involves:

  • Summarization, classification, analysis, critiques, and comparison.
  • The analysis, evaluation, and comparison require the use of theories, ideas, and research relevant to the subject area of the article.
  • It is also worth nothing if a review does not introduce new information, but instead presents a response to another writer's work.
  • Check out other samples to gain a better understanding of how to review the article.

Types of Review

When it comes to article reviews, there's more than one way to approach the task. Understanding the various types of reviews is like having a versatile toolkit at your disposal. In this section, we'll walk you through the different dimensions of review types, each offering a unique perspective and purpose. Whether you're dissecting a scholarly article, critiquing a piece of literature, or evaluating a product, you'll discover the diverse landscape of article reviews and how to navigate it effectively.

types of article review

Journal Article Review

Just like other types of reviews, a journal article review assesses the merits and shortcomings of a published work. To illustrate, consider a review of an academic paper on climate change, where the writer meticulously analyzes and interprets the article's significance within the context of environmental science.

Research Article Review

Distinguished by its focus on research methodologies, a research article review scrutinizes the techniques used in a study and evaluates them in light of the subsequent analysis and critique. For instance, when reviewing a research article on the effects of a new drug, the reviewer would delve into the methods employed to gather data and assess their reliability.

Science Article Review

In the realm of scientific literature, a science article review encompasses a wide array of subjects. Scientific publications often provide extensive background information, which can be instrumental in conducting a comprehensive analysis. For example, when reviewing an article about the latest breakthroughs in genetics, the reviewer may draw upon the background knowledge provided to facilitate a more in-depth evaluation of the publication.

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Formatting an Article Review

The format of the article should always adhere to the citation style required by your professor. If you're not sure, seek clarification on the preferred format and ask him to clarify several other pointers to complete the formatting of an article review adequately.

How Many Publications Should You Review?

  • In what format should you cite your articles (MLA, APA, ASA, Chicago, etc.)?
  • What length should your review be?
  • Should you include a summary, critique, or personal opinion in your assignment?
  • Do you need to call attention to a theme or central idea within the articles?
  • Does your instructor require background information?

When you know the answers to these questions, you may start writing your assignment. Below are examples of MLA and APA formats, as those are the two most common citation styles.

Using the APA Format

Articles appear most commonly in academic journals, newspapers, and websites. If you write an article review in the APA format, you will need to write bibliographical entries for the sources you use:

  • Web : Author [last name], A.A [first and middle initial]. (Year, Month, Date of Publication). Title. Retrieved from {link}
  • Journal : Author [last name], A.A [first and middle initial]. (Publication Year). Publication Title. Periodical Title, Volume(Issue), pp.-pp.
  • Newspaper : Author [last name], A.A [first and middle initial]. (Year, Month, Date of Publication). Publication Title. Magazine Title, pp. xx-xx.

Using MLA Format

  • Web : Last, First Middle Initial. “Publication Title.” Website Title. Website Publisher, Date Month Year Published. Web. Date Month Year Accessed.
  • Newspaper : Last, First M. “Publication Title.” Newspaper Title [City] Date, Month, Year Published: Page(s). Print.
  • Journal : Last, First M. “Publication Title.” Journal Title Series Volume. Issue (Year Published): Page(s). Database Name. Web. Date Month Year Accessed.

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The Pre-Writing Process

Facing this task for the first time can really get confusing and can leave you unsure of where to begin. To create a top-notch article review, start with a few preparatory steps. Here are the two main stages from our dissertation services to get you started:

Step 1: Define the right organization for your review. Knowing the future setup of your paper will help you define how you should read the article. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Summarize the article — seek out the main points, ideas, claims, and general information presented in the article.
  • Define the positive points — identify the strong aspects, ideas, and insightful observations the author has made.
  • Find the gaps —- determine whether or not the author has any contradictions, gaps, or inconsistencies in the article and evaluate whether or not he or she used a sufficient amount of arguments and information to support his or her ideas.
  • Identify unanswered questions — finally, identify if there are any questions left unanswered after reading the piece.

Step 2: Move on and review the article. Here is a small and simple guide to help you do it right:

  • Start off by looking at and assessing the title of the piece, its abstract, introductory part, headings and subheadings, opening sentences in its paragraphs, and its conclusion.
  • First, read only the beginning and the ending of the piece (introduction and conclusion). These are the parts where authors include all of their key arguments and points. Therefore, if you start with reading these parts, it will give you a good sense of the author's main points.
  • Finally, read the article fully.

These three steps make up most of the prewriting process. After you are done with them, you can move on to writing your own review—and we are going to guide you through the writing process as well.

Outline and Template

As you progress with reading your article, organize your thoughts into coherent sections in an outline. As you read, jot down important facts, contributions, or contradictions. Identify the shortcomings and strengths of your publication. Begin to map your outline accordingly.

If your professor does not want a summary section or a personal critique section, then you must alleviate those parts from your writing. Much like other assignments, an article review must contain an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Thus, you might consider dividing your outline according to these sections as well as subheadings within the body. If you find yourself troubled with the pre-writing and the brainstorming process for this assignment, seek out a sample outline.

Your custom essay must contain these constituent parts:

  • Pre-Title Page - Before diving into your review, start with essential details: article type, publication title, and author names with affiliations (position, department, institution, location, and email). Include corresponding author info if needed.
  • Running Head - In APA format, use a concise title (under 40 characters) to ensure consistent formatting.
  • Summary Page - Optional but useful. Summarize the article in 800 words, covering background, purpose, results, and methodology, avoiding verbatim text or references.
  • Title Page - Include the full title, a 250-word abstract, and 4-6 keywords for discoverability.
  • Introduction - Set the stage with an engaging overview of the article.
  • Body - Organize your analysis with headings and subheadings.
  • Works Cited/References - Properly cite all sources used in your review.
  • Optional Suggested Reading Page - If permitted, suggest further readings for in-depth exploration.
  • Tables and Figure Legends (if instructed by the professor) - Include visuals when requested by your professor for clarity.

Example of an Article Review

You might wonder why we've dedicated a section of this article to discuss an article review sample. Not everyone may realize it, but examining multiple well-constructed examples of review articles is a crucial step in the writing process. In the following section, our essay writing service experts will explain why.

Looking through relevant article review examples can be beneficial for you in the following ways:

  • To get you introduced to the key works of experts in your field.
  • To help you identify the key people engaged in a particular field of science.
  • To help you define what significant discoveries and advances were made in your field.
  • To help you unveil the major gaps within the existing knowledge of your field—which contributes to finding fresh solutions.
  • To help you find solid references and arguments for your own review.
  • To help you generate some ideas about any further field of research.
  • To help you gain a better understanding of the area and become an expert in this specific field.
  • To get a clear idea of how to write a good review.

View Our Writer’s Sample Before Crafting Your Own!

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Steps for Writing an Article Review

Here is a guide with critique paper format on how to write a review paper:

steps for article review

Step 1: Write the Title

First of all, you need to write a title that reflects the main focus of your work. Respectively, the title can be either interrogative, descriptive, or declarative.

Step 2: Cite the Article

Next, create a proper citation for the reviewed article and input it following the title. At this step, the most important thing to keep in mind is the style of citation specified by your instructor in the requirements for the paper. For example, an article citation in the MLA style should look as follows:

Author's last and first name. "The title of the article." Journal's title and issue(publication date): page(s). Print

Abraham John. "The World of Dreams." Virginia Quarterly 60.2(1991): 125-67. Print.

Step 3: Article Identification

After your citation, you need to include the identification of your reviewed article:

  • Title of the article
  • Title of the journal
  • Year of publication

All of this information should be included in the first paragraph of your paper.

The report "Poverty increases school drop-outs" was written by Brian Faith – a Health officer – in 2000.

Step 4: Introduction

Your organization in an assignment like this is of the utmost importance. Before embarking on your writing process, you should outline your assignment or use an article review template to organize your thoughts coherently.

  • If you are wondering how to start an article review, begin with an introduction that mentions the article and your thesis for the review.
  • Follow up with a summary of the main points of the article.
  • Highlight the positive aspects and facts presented in the publication.
  • Critique the publication by identifying gaps, contradictions, disparities in the text, and unanswered questions.

Step 5: Summarize the Article

Make a summary of the article by revisiting what the author has written about. Note any relevant facts and findings from the article. Include the author's conclusions in this section.

Step 6: Critique It

Present the strengths and weaknesses you have found in the publication. Highlight the knowledge that the author has contributed to the field. Also, write about any gaps and/or contradictions you have found in the article. Take a standpoint of either supporting or not supporting the author's assertions, but back up your arguments with facts and relevant theories that are pertinent to that area of knowledge. Rubrics and templates can also be used to evaluate and grade the person who wrote the article.

Step 7: Craft a Conclusion

In this section, revisit the critical points of your piece, your findings in the article, and your critique. Also, write about the accuracy, validity, and relevance of the results of the article review. Present a way forward for future research in the field of study. Before submitting your article, keep these pointers in mind:

  • As you read the article, highlight the key points. This will help you pinpoint the article's main argument and the evidence that they used to support that argument.
  • While you write your review, use evidence from your sources to make a point. This is best done using direct quotations.
  • Select quotes and supporting evidence adequately and use direct quotations sparingly. Take time to analyze the article adequately.
  • Every time you reference a publication or use a direct quotation, use a parenthetical citation to avoid accidentally plagiarizing your article.
  • Re-read your piece a day after you finish writing it. This will help you to spot grammar mistakes and to notice any flaws in your organization.
  • Use a spell-checker and get a second opinion on your paper.

The Post-Writing Process: Proofread Your Work

Finally, when all of the parts of your article review are set and ready, you have one last thing to take care of — proofreading. Although students often neglect this step, proofreading is a vital part of the writing process and will help you polish your paper to ensure that there are no mistakes or inconsistencies.

To proofread your paper properly, start by reading it fully and checking the following points:

  • Punctuation
  • Other mistakes

Afterward, take a moment to check for any unnecessary information in your paper and, if found, consider removing it to streamline your content. Finally, double-check that you've covered at least 3-4 key points in your discussion.

And remember, if you ever need help with proofreading, rewriting your essay, or even want to buy essay , our friendly team is always here to assist you.

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  • Knowledge Base

Methodology

  • How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

Published on January 2, 2023 by Shona McCombes . Revised on September 11, 2023.

What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic .

There are five key steps to writing a literature review:

  • Search for relevant literature
  • Evaluate sources
  • Identify themes, debates, and gaps
  • Outline the structure
  • Write your literature review

A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes , and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.

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Table of contents

What is the purpose of a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1 – search for relevant literature, step 2 – evaluate and select sources, step 3 – identify themes, debates, and gaps, step 4 – outline your literature review’s structure, step 5 – write your literature review, free lecture slides, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions, introduction.

  • Quick Run-through
  • Step 1 & 2

When you write a thesis , dissertation , or research paper , you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:

  • Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and its scholarly context
  • Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
  • Position your work in relation to other researchers and theorists
  • Show how your research addresses a gap or contributes to a debate
  • Evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of the scholarly debates around your topic.

Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.

Literature review guide

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Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.

  • Example literature review #1: “Why Do People Migrate? A Review of the Theoretical Literature” ( Theoretical literature review about the development of economic migration theory from the 1950s to today.)
  • Example literature review #2: “Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines” ( Methodological literature review about interdisciplinary knowledge acquisition and production.)
  • Example literature review #3: “The Use of Technology in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Thematic literature review about the effects of technology on language acquisition.)
  • Example literature review #4: “Learners’ Listening Comprehension Difficulties in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Chronological literature review about how the concept of listening skills has changed over time.)

You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.

Download Word doc Download Google doc

Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .

If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions .

Make a list of keywords

Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list as you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.

  • Social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok
  • Body image, self-perception, self-esteem, mental health
  • Generation Z, teenagers, adolescents, youth

Search for relevant sources

Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:

  • Your university’s library catalogue
  • Google Scholar
  • Project Muse (humanities and social sciences)
  • Medline (life sciences and biomedicine)
  • EconLit (economics)
  • Inspec (physics, engineering and computer science)

You can also use boolean operators to help narrow down your search.

Make sure to read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.

You likely won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on your topic, so it will be necessary to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your research question.

For each publication, ask yourself:

  • What question or problem is the author addressing?
  • What are the key concepts and how are they defined?
  • What are the key theories, models, and methods?
  • Does the research use established frameworks or take an innovative approach?
  • What are the results and conclusions of the study?
  • How does the publication relate to other literature in the field? Does it confirm, add to, or challenge established knowledge?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research?

Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.

You can use our template to summarize and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using. Click on either button below to download.

Take notes and cite your sources

As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.

It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.

Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

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how to write findings in article review

To begin organizing your literature review’s argument and structure, be sure you understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:

  • Trends and patterns (in theory, method or results): do certain approaches become more or less popular over time?
  • Themes: what questions or concepts recur across the literature?
  • Debates, conflicts and contradictions: where do sources disagree?
  • Pivotal publications: are there any influential theories or studies that changed the direction of the field?
  • Gaps: what is missing from the literature? Are there weaknesses that need to be addressed?

This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.

  • Most research has focused on young women.
  • There is an increasing interest in the visual aspects of social media.
  • But there is still a lack of robust research on highly visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat—this is a gap that you could address in your own research.

There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).

Chronological

The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order.

Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.

If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.

For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.

Methodological

If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:

  • Look at what results have emerged in qualitative versus quantitative research
  • Discuss how the topic has been approached by empirical versus theoretical scholarship
  • Divide the literature into sociological, historical, and cultural sources

Theoretical

A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.

You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.

Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.

The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.

Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.

As you write, you can follow these tips:

  • Summarize and synthesize: give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
  • Analyze and interpret: don’t just paraphrase other researchers — add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
  • Critically evaluate: mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
  • Write in well-structured paragraphs: use transition words and topic sentences to draw connections, comparisons and contrasts

In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance.

When you’ve finished writing and revising your literature review, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly before submitting. Not a language expert? Check out Scribbr’s professional proofreading services !

This article has been adapted into lecture slides that you can use to teach your students about writing a literature review.

Scribbr slides are free to use, customize, and distribute for educational purposes.

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If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .

It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.

There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:

  • To familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge on your topic
  • To ensure that you’re not just repeating what others have already done
  • To identify gaps in knowledge and unresolved problems that your research can address
  • To develop your theoretical framework and methodology
  • To provide an overview of the key findings and debates on the topic

Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.

The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .

A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other  academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .

An  annotated bibliography is a list of  source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a  paper .  

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Article Contents

Introduction, selection of a topic, scientific literature search and analysis, structure of a scientific review article, tips for success, acknowledgments, conflict of interest statement.

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Scientific Review Article

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Manisha Bahl, A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Scientific Review Article, Journal of Breast Imaging , Volume 5, Issue 4, July/August 2023, Pages 480–485, https://doi.org/10.1093/jbi/wbad028

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Scientific review articles are comprehensive, focused reviews of the scientific literature written by subject matter experts. The task of writing a scientific review article can seem overwhelming; however, it can be managed by using an organized approach and devoting sufficient time to the process. The process involves selecting a topic about which the authors are knowledgeable and enthusiastic, conducting a literature search and critical analysis of the literature, and writing the article, which is composed of an abstract, introduction, body, and conclusion, with accompanying tables and figures. This article, which focuses on the narrative or traditional literature review, is intended to serve as a guide with practical steps for new writers. Tips for success are also discussed, including selecting a focused topic, maintaining objectivity and balance while writing, avoiding tedious data presentation in a laundry list format, moving from descriptions of the literature to critical analysis, avoiding simplistic conclusions, and budgeting time for the overall process.

Scientific review articles provide a focused and comprehensive review of the available evidence about a subject, explain the current state of knowledge, and identify gaps that could be topics for potential future research.

Detailed tables reviewing the relevant scientific literature are important components of high-quality scientific review articles.

Tips for success include selecting a focused topic, maintaining objectivity and balance, avoiding tedious data presentation, providing a critical analysis rather than only a description of the literature, avoiding simplistic conclusions, and budgeting time for the overall process.

The process of researching and writing a scientific review article can be a seemingly daunting task but can be made manageable, and even enjoyable, if an organized approach is used and a reasonable timeline is given. Scientific review articles provide authors with an opportunity to synthesize the available evidence about a specific subject, contribute their insights to the field, and identify opportunities for future research. The authors, in turn, gain recognition as subject matter experts and thought leaders in the field. An additional benefit to the authors is that high-quality review articles can often be cited many years after publication ( 1 , 2 ). The reader of a scientific review article should gain an understanding of the current state of knowledge on the subject, points of controversy, and research questions that have yet to be answered ( 3 ).

There are two types of review articles, narrative or traditional literature reviews and systematic reviews, which may or may not be accompanied by a meta-analysis ( 4 ). This article, which focuses on the narrative or traditional literature review, is intended to serve as a guide with practical steps for new writers. It is geared toward breast imaging radiologists who are preparing to write a scientific review article for the Journal of Breast Imaging but can also be used by any writer, reviewer, or reader. In the narrative or traditional literature review, the available scientific literature is synthesized and no new data are presented. This article first discusses the process of selecting an appropriate topic. Then, practical tips for conducting a literature search and analyzing the literature are provided. The structure of a scientific review article is outlined and tips for success are described.

Scientific review articles are often solicited by journal editors and written by experts in the field. For solicited or invited articles, a senior expert in the field may be contacted and, in turn, may ask junior faculty or trainees to help with the literature search and writing process. Most journals also consider proposals for review article topics. The journal’s editorial office can be contacted via e-mail with a topic proposal, ideally with an accompanying outline or an extended abstract to help explain the proposal.

When selecting a topic for a scientific review article, the following considerations should be taken into account: The authors should be knowledgeable about and interested in the topic; the journal’s audience should be interested in the topic; and the topic should be focused, with a sufficient number of current research studies ( Figure 1 ). For the Journal of Breast Imaging , a scientific review article on breast MRI would be too broad in scope. Examples of more focused topics include abbreviated breast MRI ( 5 ), concerns about gadolinium deposition in the setting of screening MRI ( 6 ), Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) 3 assessments on MRI ( 7 , 8 ), the science of background parenchymal enhancement ( 9 ), and screening MRI in women at intermediate risk ( 10 ).

Summary of the factors to consider when selecting a topic for a scientific review article. Adapted with permission from Dhillon et al (2).

Summary of the factors to consider when selecting a topic for a scientific review article. Adapted with permission from Dhillon et al ( 2 ).

Once a well-defined topic is selected, the next step is to conduct a literature search. There are multiple indexing databases that can be used for a literature search, including PubMed, SCOPUS, and Web of Science ( 11–13 ). A list of databases with links can be found on the National Institutes of Health website ( 14 ). It is advised to keep track of the search terms that are used so that the search could be replicated if needed.

While reading articles, taking notes and keeping track of findings in a spreadsheet or database can be helpful. The following points should be considered for each article: What is the purpose of the article, and is it relevant to the review article topic? What was the study design (eg, retrospective analysis, randomized controlled trial)? Are the conclusions that are drawn based on the presented data valid and reasonable? What are the strengths and limitations of the study? In the discussion section, do the authors discuss other literature that both supports and contradicts their findings? It can also be helpful to read accompanying editorials, if available, that are written by experts to explain the importance of the original scientific article in the context of other work in the field.

If previous review articles on the same topic are discovered during the literature search, then the following strategies could be considered: discussing approaches used and limitations of past reviews, identifying a new angle that has not been previously covered, and/or focusing on new research that has been published since the most recent reviews on the topic ( 3 ). It is highly encouraged to create an outline and solicit feedback from co-authors before writing begins.

Writing a high-quality scientific review article is “a balancing act between the scientific rigor needed to select and critically appraise original studies, and the art of telling a story by providing context, exploring the known and the unknown, and pointing the way forward” ( 15 ). The ideal scientific review article is balanced and authoritative and serves as a definitive reference on the topic. Review articles tend to be 4000 to 5000 words in length, with 80% to 90% devoted to the body.

When preparing a scientific review article, writers can consider using the Scale for the Assessment of Narrative Review Articles, which has been proposed as a critical appraisal tool to help editors, reviewers, and readers assess non–systematic review articles ( 16 ). It is composed of the following six items, which are rated from 0 to 2 (with 0 being low quality and 2 being high quality): explanation of why the article is important, statement of aims or questions to be addressed, description of the literature search strategy, inclusion of appropriate references, scientific reasoning, and appropriate data presentation. In a study with three raters each reviewing 30 articles, the scale was felt to be feasible in daily editorial work and had high inter-rater reliability.

The components of a scientific review article include the abstract, introduction, body, conclusion, references, tables, and figures, which are described below.

Abstracts are typically structured as a single paragraph, ranging from 200 to 250 words in length. The abstract briefly explains why the topic is important, provides a summary of the main conclusions that are being drawn based on the research studies that were included and analyzed in the review article, and describes how the article is organized ( 17 ). Because the abstract should provide a summary of the main conclusions being drawn, it is often written last, after the other sections of the article have been completed. It does not include references.

The introduction provides detailed background about the topic and outlines the objectives of the review article. It is important to explain why the literature on that topic should be reviewed (eg, no prior reviews, different angle from prior reviews, new published research). The problem-gap-hook approach can be used, in which the topic is introduced, the gap is explained (eg, lack of published synthesis), and the hook (or why it matters) is provided ( 18 ). If there are prior review articles on the topic, particularly recent ones, then the authors are encouraged to justify how their review contributes to the existing literature. The content in the introduction section should be supported with references, but specific findings from recent research studies are typically not described, instead being discussed in depth in the body.

In a traditional or narrative review article, a methods section is optional. The methods section should include a list of the databases and years that were searched, search terms that were used, and a summary of the inclusion and exclusion criteria for articles ( 17 , 19 ).

The body can take different forms depending on the topic but should be organized into sections with subheadings, with each subsection having an independent introduction and conclusion. In the body, published studies should be reviewed in detail and in an organized fashion. In general, each paragraph should begin with a thesis statement or main point, and the sentences that follow it should consist of supporting evidence drawn from the literature. Research studies need not be discussed in chronological order, and the results from one research study may be discussed in different sections of the body. For example, if writing a scientific review article on screening digital breast tomosynthesis, cancer detection rates reported in one study may be discussed in a separate paragraph from the false-positive rates that were reported in the same study.

Emphasis should be placed on the significance of the study results in the broader context of the subject. The strengths and weaknesses of individual studies should be discussed. An example of this type of discussion is as follows: “Smith et al found no differences in re-excision rates among breast cancer patients who did and did not undergo preoperative MRI. However, there were several important limitations of this study. The radiologists were not required to have breast MRI interpretation experience, nor was it required that MRI-detected findings undergo biopsy prior to surgery.” Other examples of phrases that can be used for constructive criticism are available online ( 20 ).

The conclusion section ties everything together and clearly states the conclusions that are being drawn based on the research studies included and analyzed in the article. The authors are also encouraged to provide their views on future research, important challenges, and unanswered questions.

Scientific review articles tend to have a large number of supporting references (up to 100). When possible, referencing the original article (rather than a review article referring to the original article) is preferred. The use of a reference manager, such as EndNote (Clarivate, London, UK) ( 21 ), Mendeley Desktop (Elsevier, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) ( 22 ), Paperpile (Paperpile LLC, Cambridge, MA) ( 23 ), RefWorks (ProQuest, Ann Arbor, MI) ( 24 ), or Zotero (Corporation for Digital Scholarship, Fairfax, VA) ( 25 ), is highly encouraged, as it ensures appropriate reference ordering even when text is moved or added and can facilitate the switching of formats based on journal requirements ( 26 ).

Tables and Figures

The inclusion of tables and figures can improve the readability of the review. Detailed tables that review the scientific literature are expected ( Table 1 ). A table listing gaps in knowledge as potential areas for future research may also be included ( 17 ). Although scientific review articles are not expected to be as figure-rich as educational review articles, figures can be beneficial to illustrate complex concepts and summarize or synthesize relevant data ( Figure 2 ). Of note, if nonoriginal figures are used, permission from the copyright owner must be obtained.

Example of an Effective Table From a Scientific Review Article About Screening MRI in Women at Intermediate Risk of Breast Cancer.

Abbreviations: ADH, atypical ductal hyperplasia; ALH, atypical lobular hyperplasia; CDR, cancer detection rate; LCIS, lobular carcinoma in situ; NR, not reported; PPV, positive predictive value. NOTE: The Detailed Table Provides a Summary of the Relevant Scientific Literature on Screening MRI in women with lobular neoplasia or ADH. Adapted with permission from Bahl ( 10 ).

a The reported CDR is an incremental CDR in the studies by Friedlander et al and Chikarmane et al. In all studies, some, but not all, included patients had a prior MRI examination, so the reported CDR represents a combination of both the prevalent and incident CDRs.

b This study included 455 patients with LCIS (some of whom had concurrent ALH or ADH). Twenty-nine cancers were MRI-detected, and 115 benign biopsies were prompted by MRI findings.

Example of an effective figure from a scientific review article about breast cancer risk assessment. The figure provides a risk assessment algorithm for breast cancer. Reprinted with permission from Kim et al (28).

Example of an effective figure from a scientific review article about breast cancer risk assessment. The figure provides a risk assessment algorithm for breast cancer. Reprinted with permission from Kim et al ( 28 ).

Select a Focused but Broad Enough Topic

A common pitfall is to be too ambitious in scope, resulting in a very time-consuming literature search and superficial coverage of some aspects of the topic. The ideal topic should be focused enough to be manageable but with a large enough body of available research to justify the need for a review article. One article on the topic of scientific reviews suggests that at least 15 to 20 relevant research papers published within the previous five years should be easily identifiable to warrant writing a review article ( 2 ).

Provide a Summary of Main Conclusions in the Abstract

Another common pitfall is to only introduce the topic and provide a roadmap for the article in the abstract. The abstract should also provide a summary of the main conclusions that are being drawn based on the research studies that were included and analyzed in the review article.

Be Objective

The content and key points of the article should be based on the published scientific literature and not biased toward one’s personal opinion.

Avoid Tedious Data Presentation

Extensive lists of statements about the findings of other authors (eg, author A found Z, author B found Y, while author C found X, etc) make it difficult for the reader to understand and follow the article. It is best for the writing to be thematic based on research findings rather than author-centered ( 27 ). Each paragraph in the body should begin with a thesis statement or main point, and the sentences that follow should consist of supporting evidence drawn from the literature. For example, in a scientific review article about artificial intelligence (AI) for screening mammography, one approach would be to write that article A found a higher cancer detection rate, higher efficiency, and a lower false-positive rate with use of the AI algorithm and article B found a similar cancer detection rate and higher efficiency, while article C found a higher cancer detection rate and higher false-positive rate. Rather, a better approach would be to write one or more paragraphs summarizing the literature on cancer detection rates, one or more paragraphs on false-positive rates, and one or more paragraphs on efficiency. The results from one study (eg, article A) need not all be discussed in the same paragraph.

Move from Description (Summary) to Analysis

A common pitfall is to describe and summarize the published literature without providing a critical analysis. The purpose of the narrative or traditional review article is not only to summarize relevant discoveries but also to synthesize the literature, discuss its limitations and implications, and speculate on the future.

Avoid Simplistic Conclusions

The scientific review article’s conclusions should consider the complexity of the topic and the quality of the evidence. When describing a study’s findings, it is best to use language that reflects the quality of the evidence rather than making definitive statements. For example, rather than stating that “The use of preoperative breast MRI leads to a reduction in re-excision rates,” the following comments could be made: “Two single-institution retrospective studies found that preoperative MRI was associated with lower rates of positive surgical margins, which suggests that preoperative MRI may lead to reduced re-excision rates. Larger studies with randomization of patients are needed to validate these findings.”

Budget Time for Researching, Synthesizing, and Writing

The amount of time necessary to write a high-quality scientific review article can easily be underestimated. The process of searching for and synthesizing the scientific literature on a topic can take weeks to months to complete depending on the number of authors involved in this process.

Scientific review articles are common in the medical literature and can serve as definitive references on the topic for other scientists, clinicians, and trainees. The first step in the process of preparing a scientific review article is to select a focused topic. This step is followed by a literature search and critical analysis of the published data. The components of the article include an abstract, introduction, body, and conclusion, with the majority devoted to the body, in which the relevant literature is reviewed in detail. The article should be objective and balanced, with summaries and critical analysis of the available evidence. Budgeting time for researching, synthesizing, and writing; taking advantage of the resources listed in this article and available online; and soliciting feedback from co-authors at various stages of the process (eg, after an outline is created) can help new writers produce high-quality scientific review articles.

The author thanks Susanne L. Loomis (Medical and Scientific Communications, Strategic Communications, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA) for creating Figure 1 in this article.

None declared.

M.B. is a consultant for Lunit (medical AI software company) and an expert panelist for 2nd.MD (a digital health company). She also receives funding from the National Institutes of Health (K08CA241365). M.B. is an associate editor of the Journal of Breast Imaging . As such, she was excluded from the editorial process.

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Writing a Literature Review

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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.e., the study of works of literature such as novels and plays). When we say “literature review” or refer to “the literature,” we are talking about the research ( scholarship ) in a given field. You will often see the terms “the research,” “the scholarship,” and “the literature” used mostly interchangeably.

Where, when, and why would I write a lit review?

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. For instance, in the humanities, authors might include more overt argumentation and interpretation of source material in their literature reviews, whereas in the sciences, authors are more likely to report study designs and results in their literature reviews; these differences reflect these disciplines’ purposes and conventions in scholarship. You should always look at examples from your own discipline and talk to professors or mentors in your field to be sure you understand your discipline’s conventions, for literature reviews as well as for any other genre.

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. In a class, a lit review may be assigned to help students familiarize themselves with a topic and with scholarship in their field, get an idea of the other researchers working on the topic they’re interested in, find gaps in existing research in order to propose new projects, and/or develop a theoretical framework and methodology for later research. As a publication, a lit review usually is meant to help make other scholars’ lives easier by collecting and summarizing, synthesizing, and analyzing existing research on a topic. 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.

What are the parts of a lit review?

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.

Introduction:

  • An introductory paragraph that explains what your working topic and thesis is
  • A forecast of key topics or texts that will appear in the review
  • Potentially, a description of how you found sources and how you analyzed them for inclusion and discussion in the review (more often found in published, standalone literature reviews than in lit review sections in an article or research paper)
  • Summarize and synthesize: Give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
  • Analyze and interpret: Don’t just paraphrase other researchers – add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
  • Critically Evaluate: Mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
  • Write in well-structured paragraphs: Use transition words and topic sentence to draw connections, comparisons, and contrasts.

Conclusion:

  • Summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance
  • Connect it back to your primary research question

How should I organize my lit review?

Lit reviews can take many different organizational patterns depending on what you are trying to accomplish with the review. Here are some examples:

  • Chronological : The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time, which helps familiarize the audience with the topic (for instance if you are introducing something that is not commonly known in your field). If you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order. Try to analyze the patterns, turning points, and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred (as mentioned previously, this may not be appropriate in your discipline — check with a teacher or mentor if you’re unsure).
  • Thematic : If you have found some recurring central themes that you will continue working with throughout your piece, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic. For example, if you are reviewing literature about women and religion, key themes can include the role of women in churches and the religious attitude towards women.
  • Qualitative versus quantitative research
  • Empirical versus theoretical scholarship
  • Divide the research by sociological, historical, or cultural sources
  • Theoretical : In many humanities articles, the literature review is the foundation for the theoretical framework. You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts. You can argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach or combine various theorical concepts to create a framework for your research.

What are some strategies or tips I can use while writing my lit review?

Any lit review is only as good as the research it discusses; make sure your sources are well-chosen and your research is thorough. Don’t be afraid to do more research if you discover a new thread as you’re writing. More info on the research process is available in our "Conducting Research" resources .

As you’re doing your research, create an annotated bibliography ( see our page on the this type of document ). Much of the information used in an annotated bibliography can be used also in a literature review, so you’ll be not only partially drafting your lit review as you research, but also developing your sense of the larger conversation going on among scholars, professionals, and any other stakeholders in your topic.

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. Many student writers struggle to synthesize because they feel they don’t have anything to add to the scholars they are citing; here are some strategies to help you:

  • It often helps to remember that the point of these kinds of syntheses is to show your readers how you understand your research, to help them read the rest of your paper.
  • Writing teachers often say synthesis is like hosting a dinner party: imagine all your sources are together in a room, discussing your topic. What are they saying to each other?
  • Look at the in-text citations in each paragraph. Are you citing just one source for each paragraph? This usually indicates summary only. When you have multiple sources cited in a paragraph, you are more likely to be synthesizing them (not always, but often
  • Read more about synthesis here.

The most interesting literature reviews are often written as arguments (again, as mentioned at the beginning of the page, this is discipline-specific and doesn’t work for all situations). 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.

Page Content

Overview of the review report format, the first read-through, first read considerations, spotting potential major flaws, concluding the first reading, rejection after the first reading, before starting the second read-through, doing the second read-through, the second read-through: section by section guidance, how to structure your report, on presentation and style, criticisms & confidential comments to editors, the recommendation, when recommending rejection, additional resources, step by step guide to reviewing a manuscript.

When you receive an invitation to peer review, you should be sent a copy of the paper's abstract to help you decide whether you wish to do the review. Try to respond to invitations promptly - it will prevent delays. It is also important at this stage to declare any potential Conflict of Interest.

The structure of the review report varies between journals. Some follow an informal structure, while others have a more formal approach.

" Number your comments!!! " (Jonathon Halbesleben, former Editor of Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology)

Informal Structure

Many journals don't provide criteria for reviews beyond asking for your 'analysis of merits'. In this case, you may wish to familiarize yourself with examples of other reviews done for the journal, which the editor should be able to provide or, as you gain experience, rely on your own evolving style.

Formal Structure

Other journals require a more formal approach. Sometimes they will ask you to address specific questions in your review via a questionnaire. Or they might want you to rate the manuscript on various attributes using a scorecard. Often you can't see these until you log in to submit your review. So when you agree to the work, it's worth checking for any journal-specific guidelines and requirements. If there are formal guidelines, let them direct the structure of your review.

In Both Cases

Whether specifically required by the reporting format or not, you should expect to compile comments to authors and possibly confidential ones to editors only.

Reviewing with Empathy

Following the invitation to review, when you'll have received the article abstract, you should already understand the aims, key data and conclusions of the manuscript. If you don't, make a note now that you need to feedback on how to improve those sections.

The first read-through is a skim-read. It will help you form an initial impression of the paper and get a sense of whether your eventual recommendation will be to accept or reject the paper.

Keep a pen and paper handy when skim-reading.

Try to bear in mind the following questions - they'll help you form your overall impression:

  • What is the main question addressed by the research? Is it relevant and interesting?
  • How original is the topic? What does it add to the subject area compared with other published material?
  • Is the paper well written? Is the text clear and easy to read?
  • Are the conclusions consistent with the evidence and arguments presented? Do they address the main question posed?
  • If the author is disagreeing significantly with the current academic consensus, do they have a substantial case? If not, what would be required to make their case credible?
  • If the paper includes tables or figures, what do they add to the paper? Do they aid understanding or are they superfluous?

While you should read the whole paper, making the right choice of what to read first can save time by flagging major problems early on.

Editors say, " Specific recommendations for remedying flaws are VERY welcome ."

Examples of possibly major flaws include:

  • Drawing a conclusion that is contradicted by the author's own statistical or qualitative evidence
  • The use of a discredited method
  • Ignoring a process that is known to have a strong influence on the area under study

If experimental design features prominently in the paper, first check that the methodology is sound - if not, this is likely to be a major flaw.

You might examine:

  • The sampling in analytical papers
  • The sufficient use of control experiments
  • The precision of process data
  • The regularity of sampling in time-dependent studies
  • The validity of questions, the use of a detailed methodology and the data analysis being done systematically (in qualitative research)
  • That qualitative research extends beyond the author's opinions, with sufficient descriptive elements and appropriate quotes from interviews or focus groups

Major Flaws in Information

If methodology is less of an issue, it's often a good idea to look at the data tables, figures or images first. Especially in science research, it's all about the information gathered. If there are critical flaws in this, it's very likely the manuscript will need to be rejected. Such issues include:

  • Insufficient data
  • Unclear data tables
  • Contradictory data that either are not self-consistent or disagree with the conclusions
  • Confirmatory data that adds little, if anything, to current understanding - unless strong arguments for such repetition are made

If you find a major problem, note your reasoning and clear supporting evidence (including citations).

After the initial read and using your notes, including those of any major flaws you found, draft the first two paragraphs of your review - the first summarizing the research question addressed and the second the contribution of the work. If the journal has a prescribed reporting format, this draft will still help you compose your thoughts.

The First Paragraph

This should state the main question addressed by the research and summarize the goals, approaches, and conclusions of the paper. It should:

  • Help the editor properly contextualize the research and add weight to your judgement
  • Show the author what key messages are conveyed to the reader, so they can be sure they are achieving what they set out to do
  • Focus on successful aspects of the paper so the author gets a sense of what they've done well

The Second Paragraph

This should provide a conceptual overview of the contribution of the research. So consider:

  • Is the paper's premise interesting and important?
  • Are the methods used appropriate?
  • Do the data support the conclusions?

After drafting these two paragraphs, you should be in a position to decide whether this manuscript is seriously flawed and should be rejected (see the next section). Or whether it is publishable in principle and merits a detailed, careful read through.

Even if you are coming to the opinion that an article has serious flaws, make sure you read the whole paper. This is very important because you may find some really positive aspects that can be communicated to the author. This could help them with future submissions.

A full read-through will also make sure that any initial concerns are indeed correct and fair. After all, you need the context of the whole paper before deciding to reject. If you still intend to recommend rejection, see the section "When recommending rejection."

Once the paper has passed your first read and you've decided the article is publishable in principle, one purpose of the second, detailed read-through is to help prepare the manuscript for publication. You may still decide to recommend rejection following a second reading.

" Offer clear suggestions for how the authors can address the concerns raised. In other words, if you're going to raise a problem, provide a solution ." (Jonathon Halbesleben, Editor of Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology)

Preparation

To save time and simplify the review:

  • Don't rely solely upon inserting comments on the manuscript document - make separate notes
  • Try to group similar concerns or praise together
  • If using a review program to note directly onto the manuscript, still try grouping the concerns and praise in separate notes - it helps later
  • Note line numbers of text upon which your notes are based - this helps you find items again and also aids those reading your review

Now that you have completed your preparations, you're ready to spend an hour or so reading carefully through the manuscript.

As you're reading through the manuscript for a second time, you'll need to keep in mind the argument's construction, the clarity of the language and content.

With regard to the argument’s construction, you should identify:

  • Any places where the meaning is unclear or ambiguous
  • Any factual errors
  • Any invalid arguments

You may also wish to consider:

  • Does the title properly reflect the subject of the paper?
  • Does the abstract provide an accessible summary of the paper?
  • Do the keywords accurately reflect the content?
  • Is the paper an appropriate length?
  • Are the key messages short, accurate and clear?

Not every submission is well written. Part of your role is to make sure that the text’s meaning is clear.

Editors say, " If a manuscript has many English language and editing issues, please do not try and fix it. If it is too bad, note that in your review and it should be up to the authors to have the manuscript edited ."

If the article is difficult to understand, you should have rejected it already. However, if the language is poor but you understand the core message, see if you can suggest improvements to fix the problem:

  • Are there certain aspects that could be communicated better, such as parts of the discussion?
  • Should the authors consider resubmitting to the same journal after language improvements?
  • Would you consider looking at the paper again once these issues are dealt with?

On Grammar and Punctuation

Your primary role is judging the research content. Don't spend time polishing grammar or spelling. Editors will make sure that the text is at a high standard before publication. However, if you spot grammatical errors that affect clarity of meaning, then it's important to highlight these. Expect to suggest such amendments - it's rare for a manuscript to pass review with no corrections.

A 2010 study of nursing journals found that 79% of recommendations by reviewers were influenced by grammar and writing style (Shattel, et al., 2010).

1. The Introduction

A well-written introduction:

  • Sets out the argument
  • Summarizes recent research related to the topic
  • Highlights gaps in current understanding or conflicts in current knowledge
  • Establishes the originality of the research aims by demonstrating the need for investigations in the topic area
  • Gives a clear idea of the target readership, why the research was carried out and the novelty and topicality of the manuscript

Originality and Topicality

Originality and topicality can only be established in the light of recent authoritative research. For example, it's impossible to argue that there is a conflict in current understanding by referencing articles that are 10 years old.

Authors may make the case that a topic hasn't been investigated in several years and that new research is required. This point is only valid if researchers can point to recent developments in data gathering techniques or to research in indirectly related fields that suggest the topic needs revisiting. Clearly, authors can only do this by referencing recent literature. Obviously, where older research is seminal or where aspects of the methodology rely upon it, then it is perfectly appropriate for authors to cite some older papers.

Editors say, "Is the report providing new information; is it novel or just confirmatory of well-known outcomes ?"

It's common for the introduction to end by stating the research aims. By this point you should already have a good impression of them - if the explicit aims come as a surprise, then the introduction needs improvement.

2. Materials and Methods

Academic research should be replicable, repeatable and robust - and follow best practice.

Replicable Research

This makes sufficient use of:

  • Control experiments
  • Repeated analyses
  • Repeated experiments

These are used to make sure observed trends are not due to chance and that the same experiment could be repeated by other researchers - and result in the same outcome. Statistical analyses will not be sound if methods are not replicable. Where research is not replicable, the paper should be recommended for rejection.

Repeatable Methods

These give enough detail so that other researchers are able to carry out the same research. For example, equipment used or sampling methods should all be described in detail so that others could follow the same steps. Where methods are not detailed enough, it's usual to ask for the methods section to be revised.

Robust Research

This has enough data points to make sure the data are reliable. If there are insufficient data, it might be appropriate to recommend revision. You should also consider whether there is any in-built bias not nullified by the control experiments.

Best Practice

During these checks you should keep in mind best practice:

  • Standard guidelines were followed (e.g. the CONSORT Statement for reporting randomized trials)
  • The health and safety of all participants in the study was not compromised
  • Ethical standards were maintained

If the research fails to reach relevant best practice standards, it's usual to recommend rejection. What's more, you don't then need to read any further.

3. Results and Discussion

This section should tell a coherent story - What happened? What was discovered or confirmed?

Certain patterns of good reporting need to be followed by the author:

  • They should start by describing in simple terms what the data show
  • They should make reference to statistical analyses, such as significance or goodness of fit
  • Once described, they should evaluate the trends observed and explain the significance of the results to wider understanding. This can only be done by referencing published research
  • The outcome should be a critical analysis of the data collected

Discussion should always, at some point, gather all the information together into a single whole. Authors should describe and discuss the overall story formed. If there are gaps or inconsistencies in the story, they should address these and suggest ways future research might confirm the findings or take the research forward.

4. Conclusions

This section is usually no more than a few paragraphs and may be presented as part of the results and discussion, or in a separate section. The conclusions should reflect upon the aims - whether they were achieved or not - and, just like the aims, should not be surprising. If the conclusions are not evidence-based, it's appropriate to ask for them to be re-written.

5. Information Gathered: Images, Graphs and Data Tables

If you find yourself looking at a piece of information from which you cannot discern a story, then you should ask for improvements in presentation. This could be an issue with titles, labels, statistical notation or image quality.

Where information is clear, you should check that:

  • The results seem plausible, in case there is an error in data gathering
  • The trends you can see support the paper's discussion and conclusions
  • There are sufficient data. For example, in studies carried out over time are there sufficient data points to support the trends described by the author?

You should also check whether images have been edited or manipulated to emphasize the story they tell. This may be appropriate but only if authors report on how the image has been edited (e.g. by highlighting certain parts of an image). Where you feel that an image has been edited or manipulated without explanation, you should highlight this in a confidential comment to the editor in your report.

6. List of References

You will need to check referencing for accuracy, adequacy and balance.

Where a cited article is central to the author's argument, you should check the accuracy and format of the reference - and bear in mind different subject areas may use citations differently. Otherwise, it's the editor’s role to exhaustively check the reference section for accuracy and format.

You should consider if the referencing is adequate:

  • Are important parts of the argument poorly supported?
  • Are there published studies that show similar or dissimilar trends that should be discussed?
  • If a manuscript only uses half the citations typical in its field, this may be an indicator that referencing should be improved - but don't be guided solely by quantity
  • References should be relevant, recent and readily retrievable

Check for a well-balanced list of references that is:

  • Helpful to the reader
  • Fair to competing authors
  • Not over-reliant on self-citation
  • Gives due recognition to the initial discoveries and related work that led to the work under assessment

You should be able to evaluate whether the article meets the criteria for balanced referencing without looking up every reference.

7. Plagiarism

By now you will have a deep understanding of the paper's content - and you may have some concerns about plagiarism.

Identified Concern

If you find - or already knew of - a very similar paper, this may be because the author overlooked it in their own literature search. Or it may be because it is very recent or published in a journal slightly outside their usual field.

You may feel you can advise the author how to emphasize the novel aspects of their own study, so as to better differentiate it from similar research. If so, you may ask the author to discuss their aims and results, or modify their conclusions, in light of the similar article. Of course, the research similarities may be so great that they render the work unoriginal and you have no choice but to recommend rejection.

"It's very helpful when a reviewer can point out recent similar publications on the same topic by other groups, or that the authors have already published some data elsewhere ." (Editor feedback)

Suspected Concern

If you suspect plagiarism, including self-plagiarism, but cannot recall or locate exactly what is being plagiarized, notify the editor of your suspicion and ask for guidance.

Most editors have access to software that can check for plagiarism.

Editors are not out to police every paper, but when plagiarism is discovered during peer review it can be properly addressed ahead of publication. If plagiarism is discovered only after publication, the consequences are worse for both authors and readers, because a retraction may be necessary.

For detailed guidelines see COPE's Ethical guidelines for reviewers and Wiley's Best Practice Guidelines on Publishing Ethics .

8. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

After the detailed read-through, you will be in a position to advise whether the title, abstract and key words are optimized for search purposes. In order to be effective, good SEO terms will reflect the aims of the research.

A clear title and abstract will improve the paper's search engine rankings and will influence whether the user finds and then decides to navigate to the main article. The title should contain the relevant SEO terms early on. This has a major effect on the impact of a paper, since it helps it appear in search results. A poor abstract can then lose the reader's interest and undo the benefit of an effective title - whilst the paper's abstract may appear in search results, the potential reader may go no further.

So ask yourself, while the abstract may have seemed adequate during earlier checks, does it:

  • Do justice to the manuscript in this context?
  • Highlight important findings sufficiently?
  • Present the most interesting data?

Editors say, " Does the Abstract highlight the important findings of the study ?"

If there is a formal report format, remember to follow it. This will often comprise a range of questions followed by comment sections. Try to answer all the questions. They are there because the editor felt that they are important. If you're following an informal report format you could structure your report in three sections: summary, major issues, minor issues.

  • Give positive feedback first. Authors are more likely to read your review if you do so. But don't overdo it if you will be recommending rejection
  • Briefly summarize what the paper is about and what the findings are
  • Try to put the findings of the paper into the context of the existing literature and current knowledge
  • Indicate the significance of the work and if it is novel or mainly confirmatory
  • Indicate the work's strengths, its quality and completeness
  • State any major flaws or weaknesses and note any special considerations. For example, if previously held theories are being overlooked

Major Issues

  • Are there any major flaws? State what they are and what the severity of their impact is on the paper
  • Has similar work already been published without the authors acknowledging this?
  • Are the authors presenting findings that challenge current thinking? Is the evidence they present strong enough to prove their case? Have they cited all the relevant work that would contradict their thinking and addressed it appropriately?
  • If major revisions are required, try to indicate clearly what they are
  • Are there any major presentational problems? Are figures & tables, language and manuscript structure all clear enough for you to accurately assess the work?
  • Are there any ethical issues? If you are unsure it may be better to disclose these in the confidential comments section

Minor Issues

  • Are there places where meaning is ambiguous? How can this be corrected?
  • Are the correct references cited? If not, which should be cited instead/also? Are citations excessive, limited, or biased?
  • Are there any factual, numerical or unit errors? If so, what are they?
  • Are all tables and figures appropriate, sufficient, and correctly labelled? If not, say which are not

Your review should ultimately help the author improve their article. So be polite, honest and clear. You should also try to be objective and constructive, not subjective and destructive.

You should also:

  • Write clearly and so you can be understood by people whose first language is not English
  • Avoid complex or unusual words, especially ones that would even confuse native speakers
  • Number your points and refer to page and line numbers in the manuscript when making specific comments
  • If you have been asked to only comment on specific parts or aspects of the manuscript, you should indicate clearly which these are
  • Treat the author's work the way you would like your own to be treated

Most journals give reviewers the option to provide some confidential comments to editors. Often this is where editors will want reviewers to state their recommendation - see the next section - but otherwise this area is best reserved for communicating malpractice such as suspected plagiarism, fraud, unattributed work, unethical procedures, duplicate publication, bias or other conflicts of interest.

However, this doesn't give reviewers permission to 'backstab' the author. Authors can't see this feedback and are unable to give their side of the story unless the editor asks them to. So in the spirit of fairness, write comments to editors as though authors might read them too.

Reviewers should check the preferences of individual journals as to where they want review decisions to be stated. In particular, bear in mind that some journals will not want the recommendation included in any comments to authors, as this can cause editors difficulty later - see Section 11 for more advice about working with editors.

You will normally be asked to indicate your recommendation (e.g. accept, reject, revise and resubmit, etc.) from a fixed-choice list and then to enter your comments into a separate text box.

Recommending Acceptance

If you're recommending acceptance, give details outlining why, and if there are any areas that could be improved. Don't just give a short, cursory remark such as 'great, accept'. See Improving the Manuscript

Recommending Revision

Where improvements are needed, a recommendation for major or minor revision is typical. You may also choose to state whether you opt in or out of the post-revision review too. If recommending revision, state specific changes you feel need to be made. The author can then reply to each point in turn.

Some journals offer the option to recommend rejection with the possibility of resubmission – this is most relevant where substantial, major revision is necessary.

What can reviewers do to help? " Be clear in their comments to the author (or editor) which points are absolutely critical if the paper is given an opportunity for revisio n." (Jonathon Halbesleben, Editor of Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology)

Recommending Rejection

If recommending rejection or major revision, state this clearly in your review (and see the next section, 'When recommending rejection').

Where manuscripts have serious flaws you should not spend any time polishing the review you've drafted or give detailed advice on presentation.

Editors say, " If a reviewer suggests a rejection, but her/his comments are not detailed or helpful, it does not help the editor in making a decision ."

In your recommendations for the author, you should:

  • Give constructive feedback describing ways that they could improve the research
  • Keep the focus on the research and not the author. This is an extremely important part of your job as a reviewer
  • Avoid making critical confidential comments to the editor while being polite and encouraging to the author - the latter may not understand why their manuscript has been rejected. Also, they won't get feedback on how to improve their research and it could trigger an appeal

Remember to give constructive criticism even if recommending rejection. This helps developing researchers improve their work and explains to the editor why you felt the manuscript should not be published.

" When the comments seem really positive, but the recommendation is rejection…it puts the editor in a tough position of having to reject a paper when the comments make it sound like a great paper ." (Jonathon Halbesleben, Editor of Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology)

Visit our Wiley Author Learning and Training Channel for expert advice on peer review.

Watch the video, Ethical considerations of Peer Review

Royal Society of Chemistry

Writing a review article: what to do with my literature review

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Introduction

Review articles allow the readers to get a landscape view of a topic, but readers can also use the collection of references cited in a review article to dig deeper into a topic. Thus, they are valuable resources to consult. Well written review articles are often highly cited and could increase the visibility and reputation of the authors.

Decisions to make before starting to write a review article

It might be tempting to consider adapting a literature review, that is part of an article, proposal or dissertation, into a published review article. Such a literature review can be used as a starting point to build a review article upon. However, a literature review often does not follow the quality criteria of a formal review article or specific types of reviews and therefore should be reworked based on the steps illustrated in this editorial.

Types of review articles suitable for chemistry education research and practice

Perspectives, narrative and integrative reviews, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, appropriate ways of approaching a (systematic) review – writing a review step-by-step, step 1. topic and research question.

After the topic is chosen, it may be helpful to narrow the review down to a clear aim or question that the review seeks to answer. This helps to facilitate the selection of the publications to be reviewed. In addition to the topic, the author should seek to clarify the aim of the review by identifying the likely audience for such a review and how these individuals would benefit from this particular review. Review articles should explicitly mention the nature and scope of the intended review, as well as making a case for who would benefit from the review and how they would benefit.

Step 2. Determine the search and selection criteria

Step 3. inclusion or exclusion of publications, step 4. synthesis of results, step 5. check for clarity and bias, how should review articles be cited as a reference in cerp manuscripts, reflections on the impact of a review article.

One can raise the question of whether a review article is actually supportive or harmful for the original articles included ( Ketcham and Crawford, 2007 ). Authors tend to cite a review article more often compared to original work, thus lowering the number of citations for the respective articles. However, on the other hand, if studies are included and discussed in a review, readers who would like to learn more or access the original perspectives tend to download, read and possibly cite them as well. The benefits of publishing review articles clearly outweigh any potential shortcomings, and their scarcity in the field of chemistry education opens up a venue for publication calls.

  • Alfieri L., Nokes-Malach T. J. and Schunn C. D., (2013), Learning Through Case Comparisons: A Meta-Analytic Review, Educ. Psychol. , 48 , 87–113.
  • Bisra K., Liu Q., Nesbit J. C., Salimi F. and Winne P. H., (2018), Inducing Self-Explanation: a Meta-Analysis, Educ. Psychol. Rev. , 30 , 703–725.
  • Castro-Alonso J. C., de Koning B. B., Fiorella L. and Paas F., (2021), Five Strategies for Optimizing Instructional Materials: Instructor- and Learner-Managed Cognitive Load, Educ. Psychol. Rev. ,  DOI: 10.1007/s10648-021-09606-9 .
  • Flaherty A. A., (2020), A review of affective chemistry education research and its implications for future research, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract. , 21 , 698–713.
  • Freeman S., Eddy S. L., McDonough M., Smith M. K., Okoroafor N., Jordt H. and Wenderoth M. P., (2014), Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. , 111 , 8410–8415.
  • Kahveci A., (2013), in Tsaparlis G. and Sevian H. (ed.), Concepts of Matter in Science Education , Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 249–278.
  • Ketcham C. M. and Crawford J. M., (2007), The impact of review articles, Lab. Invest. , 87 , 1174–1185.
  • Rahman M. T. and Lewis S. E., (2020), Evaluating the evidence base for evidence-based instructional practices in chemistry through meta-analysis, J. Res. Sci. Teach. , 57 , 765–693.
  • Taber K. S., (2014), The significance of implicit knowledge for learning and teaching chemistry, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract. , 15 , 447–461.
  • Taylor and Francis, (2021), What is a review article?, https://authorservices.taylorandfrancis.com/publishing-your-research/writing-your-paper/how-to-write-review-article/.
  • Theobald E. J., Hill M. J., Tran E., Agrawal S., Arroyo E. N., Behling S., Chambwe N., Cintrón D. L., Cooper J. D., Dunster G., Grummer J. A., Hennessey K., Hsiao J., Iranon N., Jones L., Jordt H., Keller M., Lacey M. E., Littlefield C. E., Lowe A., Newman S., Okolo V., Olroyd S., Peecook B. R., Pickett S. B., Slager D. L., Caviedes-Solis I. W., Stanchak K. E., Sundaravardan V., Valdebenito C., Williams C. R., Zinsli K. and Freeman S., (2020), Active learning narrows achievement gaps for underrepresented students in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and math, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. , 117 , 6476–6483.

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Medical Writing pp 153–171 Cite as

How to Write a Review Article

  • Robert B. Taylor 2  
  • First Online: 15 December 2017

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The review article, often the first effort of the beginning writer, remains a fundamental model for the medical writer. Thus, the aspiring author needs to know who writes, who publishes, and who reads review articles. In addition to the familiar article based on disease diagnosis and therapy, there are some special types: the literature review, systematic review and meta-analysis, and evidence-based clinical review. The chapter ends with a list of mistakes often made in writing review articles.

  • Review article
  • First steps
  • Literature review
  • Systematic review
  • Meta-analysis
  • Evidence-based clinical review
To write an article of any sort is, to some extent, to reveal ourselves. Hence, even a medical article is, in a sense, something of an autobiography. American surgeon J. Chalmers DaCosta (1863–1938) [ 1 ]

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DaCosta JC. The trials and triumphs of the surgeon. Philadelphia: Dorrance; 1944. Chapter 2.

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Terry N, Joubert D. Undertaking a systematic review: what you need to know. National Institutes of Health. http://nihlibrary.campusguides.com/ld.php?content_id=1380821 . Accessed 23 Mar 2017.

Systematic reviews and meta-analyses: a step-by-step guide. University of Edinburgh Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology. http://www.ccace.ed.ac.uk/research/software-resources/systematic-reviews-and-meta-analyses . Accessed 23 Mar 2017.

Journal of the American Medical Association. Instructions for authors. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/pages/instructions-for-authors . Accessed 23 Mar 2017.

US Preventive Medicine Task Force. Methods and Processes. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Name/methods-and-processes . Accessed 23 Mar 2017.

SORT: The strength-of-recommendation taxonomy. Am Fam Phys. 2016;93(8):696–7.

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How to write a journal article review: Do the writing

  • What's in this Guide
  • What is a journal article?
  • Create a template
  • Choose your article to review
  • Read your article carefully

Do the writing

  • Remember to edit
  • Additional resources

Start to write. Follow the instructions of your assessment, then structure your writing accordingly.

The four key parts of a journal article review are:

3. A critique, or a discussion about the key points of the journal article.

A critique is a discussion about the key points of the journal article. It should be a balanced discussion about the  strengths and weaknesses of the key points and structure of the article.

You will also need to discuss if the author(s) points are valid (supported by other literature) and robust (would you get the same outcome if the way the information was gathered was repeated).

Example of part of a critique

4. A conclusion - a final evaluation of the article

1. Give an overall opinion of the text.

2. Briefly summarise key points and determine if they are valid, useful, accurate etc.

3. Remember, do not include new ideas or opinions in the conclusion.

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Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Literature Review

Marco pautasso.

1 Centre for Functional and Evolutionary Ecology (CEFE), CNRS, Montpellier, France

2 Centre for Biodiversity Synthesis and Analysis (CESAB), FRB, Aix-en-Provence, France

Literature reviews are in great demand in most scientific fields. Their need stems from the ever-increasing output of scientific publications [1] . For example, compared to 1991, in 2008 three, eight, and forty times more papers were indexed in Web of Science on malaria, obesity, and biodiversity, respectively [2] . Given such mountains of papers, scientists cannot be expected to examine in detail every single new paper relevant to their interests [3] . Thus, it is both advantageous and necessary to rely on regular summaries of the recent literature. Although recognition for scientists mainly comes from primary research, timely literature reviews can lead to new synthetic insights and are often widely read [4] . For such summaries to be useful, however, they need to be compiled in a professional way [5] .

When starting from scratch, reviewing the literature can require a titanic amount of work. That is why researchers who have spent their career working on a certain research issue are in a perfect position to review that literature. Some graduate schools are now offering courses in reviewing the literature, given that most research students start their project by producing an overview of what has already been done on their research issue [6] . However, it is likely that most scientists have not thought in detail about how to approach and carry out a literature review.

Reviewing the literature requires the ability to juggle multiple tasks, from finding and evaluating relevant material to synthesising information from various sources, from critical thinking to paraphrasing, evaluating, and citation skills [7] . In this contribution, I share ten simple rules I learned working on about 25 literature reviews as a PhD and postdoctoral student. Ideas and insights also come from discussions with coauthors and colleagues, as well as feedback from reviewers and editors.

Rule 1: Define a Topic and Audience

How to choose which topic to review? There are so many issues in contemporary science that you could spend a lifetime of attending conferences and reading the literature just pondering what to review. On the one hand, if you take several years to choose, several other people may have had the same idea in the meantime. On the other hand, only a well-considered topic is likely to lead to a brilliant literature review [8] . 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).

Ideas for potential reviews may come from papers providing lists of key research questions to be answered [9] , but also from serendipitous moments during desultory reading and discussions. In addition to choosing your topic, you should also select a target audience. In many cases, the topic (e.g., web services in computational biology) will automatically define an audience (e.g., computational biologists), but that same topic may also be of interest to neighbouring fields (e.g., computer science, biology, etc.).

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 [10] ),
  • 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.g., Mendeley, Papers, Qiqqa, Sente),
  • define early in the process some criteria for exclusion of irrelevant papers (these criteria can then be described in the review to help define its scope), and
  • do not just look for research papers in the area you wish to review, but also seek previous reviews.

The chances are high that someone will already have published a literature review ( Figure 1 ), if not exactly on the issue you are planning to tackle, at least on a related topic. If there are already a few or several reviews of the literature on your issue, my advice is not to give up, but to carry on with your own literature review,

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The bottom-right situation (many literature reviews but few research papers) is not just a theoretical situation; it applies, for example, to the study of the impacts of climate change on plant diseases, where there appear to be more literature reviews than research studies [33] .

  • discussing in your review the approaches, limitations, and conclusions of past reviews,
  • trying to find a new angle that has not been covered adequately in the previous reviews, and
  • incorporating new material that has inevitably accumulated since their appearance.

When searching the literature for pertinent papers and reviews, the usual rules apply:

  • be thorough,
  • use different keywords and database sources (e.g., DBLP, Google Scholar, ISI Proceedings, JSTOR Search, Medline, Scopus, Web of Science), and
  • look at who has cited past relevant papers and book chapters.

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. My advice is, while reading, to start writing down interesting pieces of information, insights about how to organize the review, and thoughts on what to write. This way, by the time you have read the literature you selected, you will already have a rough draft of the review.

Of course, this draft will still need much rewriting, restructuring, and rethinking to obtain a text with a coherent argument [11] , but you will have avoided the danger posed by staring at a blank document. Be careful when taking notes to use quotation marks if you are provisionally copying verbatim from the literature. It is advisable then to reformulate such quotes with your own words in the final draft. It is important to be careful in noting the references already at this stage, so as to avoid misattributions. Using referencing software from the very beginning of your endeavour will save you time.

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. This is probably a good time to decide whether to go for a mini- or a full review. Some journals are now favouring the publication of rather short reviews focusing on the last few years, with a limit on the number of words and citations. A mini-review is not necessarily a minor review: it may well attract more attention from busy readers, although it will inevitably simplify some issues and leave out some relevant material due to space limitations. A full review will have the advantage of more freedom to cover in detail the complexities of a particular scientific development, but may then be left in the pile of the very important papers “to be read” by readers with little time to spare for major monographs.

There is probably a continuum between mini- and full reviews. The same point applies to the dichotomy of descriptive vs. integrative reviews. While descriptive reviews focus on the methodology, findings, and interpretation of each reviewed study, integrative reviews attempt to find common ideas and concepts from the reviewed material [12] . A similar distinction exists between narrative and systematic reviews: while narrative reviews are qualitative, systematic reviews attempt to test a hypothesis based on the published evidence, which is gathered using a predefined protocol to reduce bias [13] , [14] . When systematic reviews analyse quantitative results in a quantitative way, they become meta-analyses. The choice between different review types will have to be made on a case-by-case basis, depending not just on the nature of the material found and the preferences of the target journal(s), but also on the time available to write the review and the number of coauthors [15] .

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 , 17 . Including material just for the sake of it can easily lead to reviews that are trying to do too many things at once. The need to keep a review focused can be problematic for interdisciplinary reviews, where the aim is to bridge the gap between fields [18] . If you are writing a review on, for example, how epidemiological approaches are used in modelling the spread of ideas, you may be inclined to include material from both parent fields, epidemiology and the study of cultural diffusion. This may be necessary to some extent, but in this case a focused review would only deal in detail with those studies at the interface between epidemiology and the spread of ideas.

While focus is an important feature of a successful review, this requirement has to be balanced with the need to make the review relevant to a broad audience. This square may be circled by discussing the wider implications of the reviewed topic for other disciplines.

Rule 6: Be Critical and Consistent

Reviewing the literature is not stamp collecting. A good review does not just summarize the literature, but discusses it critically, identifies methodological problems, and points out research gaps [19] . 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.

It is challenging to achieve a successful review on all these fronts. 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. active voice and present vs. past tense.

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. 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) [20] .

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.g., with mind-mapping techniques. Such diagrams can help recognize a logical way to order and link the various sections of a review [21] . 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 [22] .

Rule 8: Make Use of Feedback

Reviews of the literature are normally peer-reviewed in the same way as research papers, and rightly so [23] . 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 [24] .

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. This could create a conflict of interest: how can reviewers report objectively on their own work [25] ? 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.

Rule 10: 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. Ideally, a literature review should not identify as a major research gap an issue that has just been addressed in a series of papers in press (the same applies, of course, to older, overlooked studies (“sleeping beauties” [26] )). 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 [27] – [32] . I wish everybody good luck with writing a review of the literature.

Acknowledgments

Many thanks to M. Barbosa, K. Dehnen-Schmutz, T. Döring, D. 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.

Funding Statement

This work was funded by the French Foundation for Research on Biodiversity (FRB) through its Centre for Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity data (CESAB), as part of the NETSEED research project. The funders had no role in the preparation of the manuscript.

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  • Research Process

Writing a good review article

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Table of Contents

As a young researcher, you might wonder how to start writing your first review article, and the extent of the information that it should contain. A review article is a comprehensive summary of the current understanding of a specific research topic and is based on previously published research. Unlike research papers, it does not contain new results, but can propose new inferences based on the combined findings of previous research.

Types of review articles

Review articles are typically of three types: literature reviews, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses.

A literature review is a general survey of the research topic and aims to provide a reliable and unbiased account of the current understanding of the topic.

A systematic review , in contrast, is more specific and attempts to address a highly focused research question. Its presentation is more detailed, with information on the search strategy used, the eligibility criteria for inclusion of studies, the methods utilized to review the collected information, and more.

A meta-analysis is similar to a systematic review in that both are systematically conducted with a properly defined research question. However, unlike the latter, a meta-analysis compares and evaluates a defined number of similar studies. It is quantitative in nature and can help assess contrasting study findings.

Tips for writing a good review article

Here are a few practices that can make the time-consuming process of writing a review article easier:

  • Define your question: Take your time to identify the research question and carefully articulate the topic of your review paper. A good review should also add something new to the field in terms of a hypothesis, inference, or conclusion. A carefully defined scientific question will give you more clarity in determining the novelty of your inferences.
  • Identify credible sources: Identify relevant as well as credible studies that you can base your review on, with the help of multiple databases or search engines. It is also a good idea to conduct another search once you have finished your article to avoid missing relevant studies published during the course of your writing.
  • Take notes: A literature search involves extensive reading, which can make it difficult to recall relevant information subsequently. Therefore, make notes while conducting the literature search and note down the source references. This will ensure that you have sufficient information to start with when you finally get to writing.
  • Describe the title, abstract, and introduction: A good starting point to begin structuring your review is by drafting the title, abstract, and introduction. Explicitly writing down what your review aims to address in the field will help shape the rest of your article.
  • Be unbiased and critical: Evaluate every piece of evidence in a critical but unbiased manner. This will help you present a proper assessment and a critical discussion in your article.
  • Include a good summary: End by stating the take-home message and identify the limitations of existing studies that need to be addressed through future studies.
  • Ask for feedback: Ask a colleague to provide feedback on both the content and the language or tone of your article before you submit it.
  • Check your journal’s guidelines: Some journals only publish reviews, while some only publish research articles. Further, all journals clearly indicate their aims and scope. Therefore, make sure to check the appropriateness of a journal before submitting your article.

Writing review articles, especially systematic reviews or meta-analyses, can seem like a daunting task. However, Elsevier Author Services can guide you by providing useful tips on how to write an impressive review article that stands out and gets published!

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How to Review a Journal Article

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For many kinds of assignments, like a  literature review , you may be asked to offer a critique or review of a journal article. This is an opportunity for you as a scholar to offer your  qualified opinion  and  evaluation  of how another scholar has composed their article, argument, and research. That means you will be expected to go beyond a simple  summary  of the article and evaluate it on a deeper level. As a college student, this might sound intimidating. However, as you engage with the research process, you are becoming immersed in a particular topic, and your insights about the way that topic is presented are valuable and can contribute to the overall conversation surrounding your topic.

IMPORTANT NOTE!!

Some disciplines, like Criminal Justice, may only want you to summarize the article without including your opinion or evaluation. If your assignment is to summarize the article only, please see our literature review handout.

Before getting started on the critique, it is important to review the article thoroughly and critically. To do this, we recommend take notes,  annotating , and reading the article several times before critiquing. As you read, be sure to note important items like the thesis, purpose, research questions, hypotheses, methods, evidence, key findings, major conclusions, tone, and publication information. Depending on your writing context, some of these items may not be applicable.

Questions to Consider

To evaluate a source, consider some of the following questions. They are broken down into different categories, but answering these questions will help you consider what areas to examine. With each category, we recommend identifying the strengths and weaknesses in each since that is a critical part of evaluation.

Evaluating Purpose and Argument

  • How well is the purpose made clear in the introduction through background/context and thesis?
  • How well does the abstract represent and summarize the article’s major points and argument?
  • How well does the objective of the experiment or of the observation fill a need for the field?
  • How well is the argument/purpose articulated and discussed throughout the body of the text?
  • How well does the discussion maintain cohesion?

Evaluating the Presentation/Organization of Information

  • How appropriate and clear is the title of the article?
  • Where could the author have benefited from expanding, condensing, or omitting ideas?
  • How clear are the author’s statements? Challenge ambiguous statements.
  • What underlying assumptions does the author have, and how does this affect the credibility or clarity of their article?
  • How objective is the author in his or her discussion of the topic?
  • How well does the organization fit the article’s purpose and articulate key goals?

Evaluating Methods

  • How appropriate are the study design and methods for the purposes of the study?
  • How detailed are the methods being described? Is the author leaving out important steps or considerations?
  • Have the procedures been presented in enough detail to enable the reader to duplicate them?

Evaluating Data

  • Scan and spot-check calculations. Are the statistical methods appropriate?
  • Do you find any content repeated or duplicated?
  • How many errors of fact and interpretation does the author include? (You can check on this by looking up the references the author cites).
  • What pertinent literature has the author cited, and have they used this literature appropriately?

Following, we have an example of a summary and an evaluation of a research article. Note that in most literature review contexts, the summary and evaluation would be much shorter. This extended example shows the different ways a student can critique and write about an article.

Chik, A. (2012). Digital gameplay for autonomous foreign language learning: Gamers’ and language teachers’ perspectives. In H. Reinders (ed.),  Digital games in language learning and teaching  (pp. 95-114). Eastbourne, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Be sure to include the full citation either in a reference page or near your evaluation if writing an  annotated bibliography .

In Chik’s article “Digital Gameplay for Autonomous Foreign Language Learning: Gamers’ and Teachers’ Perspectives”, she explores the ways in which “digital gamers manage gaming and gaming-related activities to assume autonomy in their foreign language learning,” (96) which is presented in contrast to how teachers view the “pedagogical potential” of gaming. The research was described as an “umbrella project” consisting of two parts. The first part examined 34 language teachers’ perspectives who had limited experience with gaming (only five stated they played games regularly) (99). Their data was recorded through a survey, class discussion, and a seven-day gaming trial done by six teachers who recorded their reflections through personal blog posts. The second part explored undergraduate gaming habits of ten Hong Kong students who were regular gamers. Their habits were recorded through language learning histories, videotaped gaming sessions, blog entries of gaming practices, group discussion sessions, stimulated recall sessions on gaming videos, interviews with other gamers, and posts from online discussion forums. The research shows that while students recognize the educational potential of games and have seen benefits of it in their lives, the instructors overall do not see the positive impacts of gaming on foreign language learning.

The summary includes the article’s purpose, methods, results, discussion, and citations when necessary.

This article did a good job representing the undergraduate gamers’ voices through extended quotes and stories. Particularly for the data collection of the undergraduate gamers, there were many opportunities for an in-depth examination of their gaming practices and histories. However, the representation of the teachers in this study was very uneven when compared to the students. Not only were teachers labeled as numbers while the students picked out their own pseudonyms, but also when viewing the data collection, the undergraduate students were more closely examined in comparison to the teachers in the study. While the students have fifteen extended quotes describing their experiences in their research section, the teachers only have two of these instances in their section, which shows just how imbalanced the study is when presenting instructor voices.

Some research methods, like the recorded gaming sessions, were only used with students whereas teachers were only asked to blog about their gaming experiences. This creates a richer narrative for the students while also failing to give instructors the chance to have more nuanced perspectives. This lack of nuance also stems from the emphasis of the non-gamer teachers over the gamer teachers. The non-gamer teachers’ perspectives provide a stark contrast to the undergraduate gamer experiences and fits neatly with the narrative of teachers not valuing gaming as an educational tool. However, the study mentioned five teachers that were regular gamers whose perspectives are left to a short section at the end of the presentation of the teachers’ results. This was an opportunity to give the teacher group a more complex story, and the opportunity was entirely missed.

Additionally, the context of this study was not entirely clear. The instructors were recruited through a master’s level course, but the content of the course and the institution’s background is not discussed. Understanding this context helps us understand the course’s purpose(s) and how those purposes may have influenced the ways in which these teachers interpreted and saw games. It was also unclear how Chik was connected to this masters’ class and to the students. Why these particular teachers and students were recruited was not explicitly defined and also has the potential to skew results in a particular direction.

Overall, I was inclined to agree with the idea that students can benefit from language acquisition through gaming while instructors may not see the instructional value, but I believe the way the research was conducted and portrayed in this article made it very difficult to support Chik’s specific findings.

Some professors like you to begin an evaluation with something positive but isn’t always necessary.

The evaluation is clearly organized and uses transitional phrases when moving to a new topic.

This evaluation includes a summative statement that gives the overall impression of the article at the end, but this can also be placed at the beginning of the evaluation.

This evaluation mainly discusses the representation of data and methods. However, other areas, like organization, are open to critique.

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how to write findings in article review

An article review is a critical evaluation of a scholarly or scientific piece, which aims to summarize its main ideas, assess its contributions, and provide constructive feedback. A well-written review not only benefits the author of the article under scrutiny but also serves as a valuable resource for fellow researchers and scholars. Follow these steps to create an effective and informative article review:

1. Understand the purpose: Before diving into the article, it is important to understand the intent of writing a review. This helps in focusing your thoughts, directing your analysis, and ensuring your review adds value to the academic community.

2. Read the article thoroughly: Carefully read the article multiple times to get a complete understanding of its content, arguments, and conclusions. As you read, take notes on key points, supporting evidence, and any areas that require further exploration or clarification.

3. Summarize the main ideas: In your review’s introduction, briefly outline the primary themes and arguments presented by the author(s). Keep it concise but sufficiently informative so that readers can quickly grasp the essence of the article.

4. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses: In subsequent paragraphs, assess the strengths and limitations of the article based on factors such as methodology, quality of evidence presented, coherence of arguments, and alignment with existing literature in the field. Be fair and objective while providing your critique.

5. Discuss any implications: Deliberate on how this particular piece contributes to or challenges existing knowledge in its discipline. You may also discuss potential improvements for future research or explore real-world applications stemming from this study.

6. Provide recommendations: Finally, offer suggestions for both the author(s) and readers regarding how they can further build on this work or apply its findings in practice.

7. Proofread and revise: Once your initial draft is complete, go through it carefully for clarity, accuracy, and coherence. Revise as necessary, ensuring your review is both informative and engaging for readers.

Sample Review:

A Critical Review of “The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health”

Introduction:

“The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health” is a timely article which investigates the relationship between social media usage and psychological well-being. The authors present compelling evidence to support their argument that excessive use of social media can result in decreased self-esteem, increased anxiety, and a negative impact on interpersonal relationships.

Strengths and weaknesses:

One of the strengths of this article lies in its well-structured methodology utilizing a variety of sources, including quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews. This approach provides a comprehensive view of the topic, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of the effects of social media on mental health. However, it would have been beneficial if the authors included a larger sample size to increase the reliability of their conclusions. Additionally, exploring how different platforms may influence mental health differently could have added depth to the analysis.

Implications:

The findings in this article contribute significantly to ongoing debates surrounding the psychological implications of social media use. It highlights the potential dangers that excessive engagement with online platforms may pose to one’s mental well-being and encourages further research into interventions that could mitigate these risks. The study also offers an opportunity for educators and policy-makers to take note and develop strategies to foster healthier online behavior.

Recommendations:

Future researchers should consider investigating how specific social media platforms impact mental health outcomes, as this could lead to more targeted interventions. For practitioners, implementing educational programs aimed at promoting healthy online habits may be beneficial in mitigating the potential negative consequences associated with excessive social media use.

Conclusion:

Overall, “The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health” is an important and informative piece that raises awareness about a pressing issue in today’s digital age. Given its minor limitations, it provides valuable

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Article Review

Barbara P

Article Review Writing: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide with Examples

Published on: Feb 17, 2020

Last updated on: Nov 24, 2023

Article Review

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Struggling to write a review that people actually want to read? Feeling lost in the details and wondering how to make your analysis stand out?

You're not alone!

Many writers find it tough to navigate the world of article reviews, not sure where to start or how to make their reviews really grab attention.

No worries! 

In this blog, we're going to guide you through the process of writing an article review that stands out. We'll also share tips, and examples to make this process easier for you.

Let’s get started.

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What is an Article Review?

An article review is a critical evaluation and analysis of a piece of writing, typically an academic or journalistic article. 

It goes beyond summarizing the content; it involves an in-depth examination of the author's ideas, arguments, and methodologies. 

The goal is to provide a well-rounded understanding of the article's strengths, weaknesses, and overall contribution to the field.

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Types of Article Reviews

Article reviews come in various forms, each serving a distinct purpose in the realm of academic or professional discourse. Understanding these types is crucial for tailoring your approach. 

Here are some common types of article reviews:

Journal Article Review

A journal article review involves a thorough evaluation of scholarly articles published in academic journals. 

It requires summarizing the article's key points, methodology, and findings, emphasizing its contributions to the academic field. 

Take a look at the following example to help you understand better.

Example of Journal Article Review

Research Article Review

A research article review focuses on scrutinizing articles with a primary emphasis on research.

This type of review involves evaluating the research design, methodology, results, and their broader implications. 

Discussions on the interpretation of results, limitations, and the article's overall contributions are key. 

Here is a sample for you to get an idea.

Example of Research Article Review

Science Article Review

A science article review specifically addresses articles within scientific disciplines. It includes summarizing scientific concepts, hypotheses, and experimental methods.

The type of review assesses the reliability of the experimental design, and evaluates the author's interpretation of findings. 

Take a look at the following example.

Example of Science Article Review

Critical Review

A critical review involves a balanced critique of a given article. It encompasses providing a comprehensive summary, highlighting key points, and engaging in a critical analysis of strengths and weaknesses. 

To get a clearer idea of a critical review, take a look at this example.

Critical Review Example

Article Review Format

When crafting an article review in either APA or MLA format, it's crucial to adhere to the specific guidelines for citing sources. 

Below are the bibliographical entries for different types of sources in both APA and MLA styles:

How to Write an Article Review? 10 Easy Steps

Writing an effective article review involves a systematic approach. Follow this step-by-step process to ensure a comprehensive and well-structured analysis.

Step 1: Understand the Assignment

Before diving into the review, carefully read and understand the assignment guidelines. 

Pay attention to specific requirements, such as word count, formatting style (APA, MLA), and the aspects your instructor wants you to focus on.

Step 2: Read the Article Thoroughly

Begin by thoroughly reading the article. Take notes on key points, arguments, and evidence presented by the author. 

Understand the author's main thesis and the context in which the article was written.

Step 3: Create a Summary

Summarize the main points of the article. Highlight the author's key arguments and findings. 

While writing the summary ensure that you capture the essential elements of the article to provide context for your analysis.

Step 4: Identify the Author's Thesis

In this step, pinpoint the author's main thesis or central argument. Understand the purpose of the article and how the author supports their position. 

This will serve as a foundation for your critique.

Step 5: Evaluate the Author's Evidence and Methodology

Examine the evidence provided by the author to support their thesis. Assess the reliability and validity of the methodology used. 

Consider the sources, data collection methods, and any potential biases.

Step 6: Analyze the Author's Writing Style

Evaluate the author's writing style and how effectively they communicate their ideas. 

Consider the clarity of the language, the organization of the content, and the overall persuasiveness of the article.

Step 7: Consider the Article's Contribution

Reflect on the article's contribution to its field of study. Analyze how it fits into the existing literature, its significance, and any potential implications for future research or applications.

Step 8: Write the Introduction

Craft an introduction that includes the article's title, author, publication date, and a brief overview. 

State the purpose of your review and your thesis—the main point you'll be analyzing in your review.

Step 9: Develop the Body of the Review

Organize your review by addressing specific aspects such as the author's thesis, methodology, writing style, and the article's contribution. 

Use clear paragraphs to structure your analysis logically.

Step 10: Conclude with a Summary and Evaluation

Summarize your main points and restate your overall assessment of the article. 

Offer insights into its strengths and weaknesses, and conclude with any recommendations for improvement or suggestions for further research.

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Article Review Outline

Creating a well-organized outline is an essential part of writing a coherent and insightful article review.

This outline given below will guide you through the key sections of your review, ensuring that your analysis is comprehensive and logically structured.

Refer to the following template to understand outlining the article review in detail.

Article Review Format Template

Article Review Examples

Examining article review examples can provide valuable insights into the structure, tone, and depth of analysis expected. 

Below are sample article reviews, each illustrating a different approach and focus.

Example of Article Review

Law Article Review

Sample of article review assignment pdf

Tips for Writing an Effective Article Review

Crafting an effective article review involves a combination of critical analysis, clarity, and structure. 

Here are some valuable tips to guide you through the process:

  • Start with a Clear Introduction

Kick off your article review by introducing the article's main points and mentioning the publication date, which you can find on the re-title page. Outline the topics you'll cover in your review.

  • Concise Summary with Unanswered Questions

Provide a short summary of the article, emphasizing its main ideas. Highlight any lingering questions, known as "unanswered questions," that the article may have triggered. Use a basic article review template to help structure your thoughts.

  • Illustrate with Examples

Use examples from the article to illustrate your points. If there are tables or figures in the article, discuss them to make your review more concrete and easily understandable.

  • Organize Clearly with a Summary Section

Keep your review straightforward and well-organized. Begin with the start of the article, express your thoughts on what you liked or didn't like, and conclude with a summary section. This follows a basic plan for clarity.

  • Constructive Criticism

When providing criticism, be constructive. If there are elements you don't understand, frame them as "unanswered questions." This approach shows engagement and curiosity.

  • Smoothly Connect Your Ideas

Ensure your thoughts flow naturally throughout your review. Use simple words and sentences. If you have questions about the article, let them guide your review organically.

  • Revise and Check for Clarity

Before finishing, go through your review. Correct any mistakes and ensure it sounds clear. Check if you followed your plan, used simple words, and incorporated the keywords effectively. This makes your review better and more accessible for others.

In conclusion , writing an effective article review involves a thoughtful balance of summarizing key points, and addressing unanswered questions. 

By following a simple and structured approach, you can create a review that not only analyzes the content but also adds value to the reader's understanding.

Remember to organize your thoughts logically, use clear language, and provide examples from the article to support your points. 

Ready to elevate your article reviewing skills? Explore the valuable resources and expert assistance at MyPerfectWords.com. 

Our team of experienced writers is here to help you with article reviews and other school tasks. 

So why wait? Get our essay writing service today!

Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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How to Write an Article Review That Stands Out

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An article review is a critical assessment of another writer’s  research paper  or scholarly article. Such an activity aims to expand one’s knowledge by evaluating the original author’s research.

Of course, writing an article review could be tricky. But a few expert tips and tricks can get you on the right track. That’s what this interesting blog post is all about. So, ensure you read it till the end to make the most out of it.

Table of Contents

A Step-by-step Guide on How to Write an Article Review

Master the art of writing an article review with this step-by-step guide from professional  paper help  providers. 

Step 1: Select the Right Article

The first step is to pick a suitable article for a review. Choose a scholarly source that’s connected to your area of study. You can look for pieces printed in trustworthy journals or by respected authors.

For Example:

For reviewing an article on climate change, consider selecting one from scientific journals like Nature or Science.

Step 2: Read and Understand the Article

It’s super important to read and understand the article before writing your review. Read the article a few times and jot down the notes as you go. Focus on the main arguments, major points, evidence, and how it’s structured. 

Let’s say you’re looking at an article on how social media affects mental health. Ensure to take note of the following: 

  • The number of people involved 
  • How the data is analyzed 
  • The Results 

Step 3: Structure and Introduction

To start a solid review, start with an introduction that gives readers the background info they need. Must include the article’s title, the author, and where it was published. Also, write a summary of the main point or argument in the article.

“In the article ‘The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health by John Smith, published in the Journal of Psychology: 

The author examines the correlation between excessive social media usage and adolescent mental health disorders.”

Step 4: Summarize the Article

In this part, you’ll need to quickly go over the main points and arguments from the article. Make it short but must cover the most important elements and the evidence that backs them up. Leave your opinions and analysis out of it for now. 

For instance, you could write:

“The author discusses various studies highlighting the negative effects of excessive social media usage on mental health.

Smith’s research reveals a significant correlation between 

Increased social media consumption and higher rates of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem among teenagers. 

The article also explores the underlying mechanisms, such as social comparison and cyberbullying. All are contributing to the adverse mental health outcomes.”

Step 5: Critically Analyze and Evaluate

Now that you’ve given a rundown of the article, it’s time to take a closer look. Think about what the author did well and what could have been done better. 

Check out the proof they used and if it seems solid. Give a thorough assessment, and use examples from the text to support your thoughts. 

For Example

“While the article presents compelling evidence linking social media usage to mental health issues , it is important to acknowledge some limitations in Smith’s study. 

The sample size of the research was relatively small. It comprises only 100 participants, which may limit the generalizability of the findings. 

Additionally, the study primarily focused on one specific age group, namely adolescents. This way, there’s room for further research on other demographic groups.”

Step 6: Express Your Perspective

Here’s your chance to give your two cents and show off your smarts. Put your spin on the article by pointing out the pros, cons, and other potential improvements. Remember to back up your thoughts with facts and sound arguments.

Continuing with the Previous Example

Despite the limitations, Smith’s research offers valuable insights into the complex relationship between social media and mental health. 

Future studies could expand the sample size and include a more diverse range of age groups. It is better to understand the broader impact of social media on mental well-being. 

Furthermore, exploring strategies for developing digital literacy programs could be potential avenues for future research.

Step 7: Conclusion and Final Thoughts

At the end of your article review, wrap it up with a brief and powerful conclusion. Give a summary of your main points and overall thoughts about the article. 

Point out its importance to the field and the impact of the study. Finish off with a thought-provoking conclusion. Give the reader a sense of finality and emphasize the need for additional research or discussion.

For instance

“In conclusion, John Smith’s article provides valuable insights into the detrimental effects of excessive social media usage on adolescent mental health. 

While the research has limitations, it serves as a starting point for further investigation in this rapidly evolving field. 

By addressing the research gaps and implementing targeted interventions: 

We can strive to promote a healthier relationship between social media and mental well-being in our digitally connected society.”

Step 8: Editing and Proofreading

Before submission, set aside some time for editing and proofreading. 

Ensure everything makes sense and everything is correct. Check out how it reads and if your points come across clearly. Get feedback from other people to get a different point of view and make it even better.

Types of Article Reviews

In college, you might be asked to write different types of review articles, including: 

Narrative Review

This type of review needs you to look into the author’s background and experiences. You have to go through the specialist’s theories and practices and compare them. For the success of a narrative review, ensure that your arguments are qualitative and make sense.

Evidence Review

For a solid evidence paper, you got to put in the work and study the topic. You’ll need to research the facts, analyze the author’s ideas, their effects, and more. 

Systematic Review

This task involves reviewing a bunch of research papers and summarizing the existing knowledge about a certain subject. A systematic paper type uses an organized approach and expects you to answer questions linked to the research.

Tips for Writing a Great Article Review

Here are some expert tips you could use to write an exceptional article review:

1. Figure out the main points you want to cover and why they matter.

  • It will help you zero in on the key points.

2. Look for and assess pertinent sources, both from the past and present.

  • It will give you a better understanding of the article you’re looking at.

3. Come Up with a Catchy Title, Summarize Your Topic in an Abstract, and Select Keywords

  • It will help people read your review and get a good idea of what it’s about.

4. Write the main point of a review along with introducing the topic. 

  • It should help readers get a better grasp of the topic.

Outline for Writing a Good Article Review

Here’s an outline to write an excellent article review. 

Introduction

– Begin with a summary of the article 

– Put in background knowledge of the topic 

– State why you are writing the review 

– Give an overview of the article’s main points 

– Figure out why the author choose to write something 

– Look at the article and consider what it does well and what it could have done better.

– Highlight the shortcomings in the article

– Restate why you are writing the review 

– Sum up the main points in a few sentences 

– Suggest what could be achieved in the future research 

Review Article Example

Title: “The Power of Vulnerability: A Review of Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly”

Introduction:

In her revolutionary book “Daring Greatly,” 

Brené Brown, a renowned researcher and storyteller. Delves into vulnerability and how it can positively impact our lives, both professionally and personally. 

Brown’s work has gained lots of praise. Since it resonates with people looking to build real connections in a world that often feels isolated. 

This article looks to recap the main ideas and concepts from “Daring Greatly.” Also explains why it is such a captivating and insightful read.

Summary of Key Ideas:

“Daring Greatly” is all about how the vulnerability isn’t a sign of being weak. but it’s actually what it takes to be brave, strong and live a full life. 

Brene Brown examines how society and culture can make it hard to be vulnerable. And, how fear of being judged or shamed stops us from being our authentic selves.

The book puts a lot of emphasis on shame and how it affects us. 

Brown explains that shame thrives when it’s kept hidden away and can only be cured by being open, understanding, and compassionate. 

By admitting our weaknesses, we can create meaningful connections and a sense of community.

Brown looks into the connection between being open to vulnerability and unleashing creative leadership and innovation. 

She uses her own experiences and research to support her viewpoint. The book also gives useful advice on how to include vulnerability in different parts of life. Such as relationships, parenting, and the workplace.

Strengths of the Book:

Brown’s book is remarkable for her ability to mix her own experiences with comprehensive research. Combining her stories and evidence makes the material engaging and easy to understand. 

Plus, her writing style is so friendly that readers feel they’re being acknowledged and accepted.

There’s advice on how to be kind to yourself. Set your limits, and accept that things won’t always be perfect. It’s like a toolkit to help you build strength and make positive changes.

Final Verdict

This book is really helpful for everyone, no matter who you are. It can help you figure out how to grow in life, have better relationships, and become a better leader. Plus, since it applies to all kinds of people, everyone can get something out of it.

If you want to write a great article review, it’s important to pick the right article, understand and analyze it critically. Finally, express your thoughts on it clearly. Ensure to stay impartial, back up your points with evidence, and write clearly and coherently.

Still if you are having troubles writing an article review, don’t hesitate to count on the expertise of  our writers .

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  • A Research Guide
  • Writing Guide
  • Article Writing

How To Write an Article Review

  • Definition of article review
  • Why do students write article reviews
  • Types of article review
  • Structure and outline
  • Step-by-step guide

Article review format

  • How to write a good article review
  • Article review examples

Definition of article review assignments

Why do students write article reviews.

  • Article writing is a deeply analytical process that helps students to correct vague terms when and if they are present. Likewise, when composing an article review or an original assignment, such work provides more clarity regarding using appropriate words. If an article has colloquial language or logical gaps, it is one of those aspects to mention in an article review. It also allows writers to determine whether certain terms must be replaced and edited.
  • Article review essay writing helps to clarify scientific questions.
  • Writing an article review allows students to see and understand how others approach specific issues and what perspectives should be studied regarding the problems at hand. Once a person reads the review, it makes it easier to get rid of bias.
  • Article review assignments also provide students with editing and grammar work to help with more accurate papers.
  • Most importantly, an article review is a way to encourage better work and provide critical analysis with due criticism and evaluation of the original article.

Types of article review tasks

  • Original Research Article Review. The original research article review is close to what is often seen as the literature review. An author must explore the author’s hypothesis and some background studies with due analysis to outline scientific methods. It’s one of the most challenging tasks to write as one must interpret the findings and talk about future implications. This type of work can also get lengthy and be up to 6,000 words in subjects like History or Sociology.
  • Critical Analysis. As the name implies, it critically evaluates the author’s work and can be up to 3,000 words.
  • Literature Review. It stands for the review of secondary literature sources. As a rule, such reviews do not present much new data and only evaluate the importance of sources and information that supports the author’s arguments.
  • Systematic Review. This case stands for research questions and articles that require a deeper synthesis of available facts or certain evidence. The purpose here is to define and evaluate the quality of the data obtained by the author.
  • Meta-Analysis Reviews. Once again, it is a systematic review focusing on a specific topic, the literature issues. You must provide a special quantitative estimate for exposure and intervention.
  • Clinical Trial Reviews. It means that one must provide a study related to an investigation offered by the author. It can relate to a drug or talk about a sample group of people, thus bringing it into the field of a defined population or a group of participants.
  • Perspective or Opinion Article Review. This is where one poses an opinion, meaning things can get biased toward a certain opinion. In writing a good review, a student can look for perspectives and evaluate the importance of the original article. Likewise, posing an opinion is one of the obligatory aspects.

Article review structure and outline

Article review structure.

  • Title page.
  • An article introduction presenting the main subject and/or a problem.
  • Brief article summary.
  • Critical article evaluation and/or a summary.
  • Conclusion with the moral lesson and discussion on the findings’ pros/cons.
  • Bibliography with relevant citations.

Article review outline

  • You provide an evaluation and summary of the author’s article.
  • Your audience can receive sufficient knowledge regarding the subject.
  • You have made points about the strongest arguments of the author.
  • You have criticized the author’s work and explained how it contributes to the scientific field.
  • You conclude your article review with your original thoughts and opinions without turning to additional research unless the grading rubric required it.

Step-by-step writing guide

Step 1: learn about the article’s agenda., step 2: summarize the main article ideas, step 3: organization aspect of the review, step 4: article preview and take notes, step 5: paraphrasing and analysis, step 6: final evaluation.

service-1

  • An introduction. The topic of your study must be mentioned here in the first sentence. Indicate what your article contains and talk about the author’s background. Provide an order of the subjects you plan to discuss to explain what your readers expect. The introduction should provide the author’s claims and the main arguments that result in your thesis statement. When writing an introduction, you must determine the main argument.
  • Body paragraphs. This is where you provide an evaluation with a summary and write about the author’s work.
  • Conclusion. Speak of your reasons for providing a review and talk about whether you could support your thesis and what you have learned.
  • Works Cited page. Refer to your grading rubric to identify what citation style must be used.

How to write a good article review?

  • Do not write the statements in the first person. It is recommended to use the third person instead by turning to a formal academic tone.
  • Your introduction with the information about the original article should take from 10 to 25% of your assignment’s volume.
  • An introduction must end with a strong thesis and make an assumption or research the author’s main claim. A typical thesis to start an article review for an assignment may look this way:
  • Write down all the important points and share your findings. It will help to show that you have done your homework correctly.
  • Discuss how the article supports the claims and whether it provides good evidence.
  • Always provide background information about the author.
  • Use direct quotes to support your claims by turning to the original article.
  • Read your summary twice to evaluate whether it follows the main thesis.
  • Talk about the contributions of the author to the academic community.
  • Provide reasons for whether you support the author’s view or not. Why or why not?
  • Summarize all the important points in a conclusion part.

Why choose article review examples?

  • Wright State University’s Journal Article Review Example .
  • University of Illinois Springfield’s Article How-to Review Guide .
  • UC Merced Library’s Article Review Sample
  • Identify recent and important changes in your field of study.
  • Determine who works in a specific field of science and why.
  • Narrow things down and identify essential information to help you start with research.
  • Use obtained information in school debates, and references work.
  • Generate new ideas and conduct lab experiments.
  • Write an article review through the lens of personal experience and expertise.

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The Real “Robert Hur Report” (Versus What You Read in the News) How the Special Counsel report has been misinterpreted

by Andrew Weissmann and Ryan Goodman

February 10, 2024

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Filed under:

Classified Information , Espionage Act , Law enforcement , news media , Special Counsel Robert Hur

The Special Counsel Robert Hur report has been grossly mischaracterized by the press. The report finds that the evidence of a knowing, willful violation of the criminal laws is wanting. Indeed, the report, on page 6, notes that there are “innocent explanations” that Hur “cannot refute.” That is but one of myriad examples we outline in great detail below of the report repeatedly finding a lack of proof. And those findings mean, in DOJ-speak, there is simply no case. Unrefuted innocent explanations is the sine qua non of not just a case that does not meet the standard for criminal prosecution – it means innocence. Or as former Attorney General Bill Barr and his former boss would have put it, a total vindication (but here, for real).

But even without the prompting of a misleading “summary” by Barr, the press has gotten the lede wrong. This may be because of a poorly worded (we’re being charitable) thesis sentence on page 1 of Hur’s executive summary. Hur writes at the outset: “Our investigation uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen.” You have to wait for the later statements that what the report actually says is there is insufficient evidence of criminality, innocent explanations for the conduct, and affirmative evidence that Biden did not willfully withhold classified documents. Put another way, that same sentence about “our investigation uncovered evidence” could equally apply to Mike Pence, who had classified documents at his home, which is similarly some “evidence” of a crime, but also plainly insufficient to remotely establish criminality.

The press incorrectly and repeatedly blast out that the Hur report found Biden willfully retained classified documents, in other words, that Biden committed a felony; with some in the news media further trumpeting that the Special Counsel decided only as a matter of discretion not to recommend charges.

To clarify thinking about this topic, let’s consider another way Hur could have represented his actual findings on page 1 of his executive summary:

“We have concluded that there is not a prosecutable case against Biden. Although there was a basis to open the investigation based on the fact that classified documents were found in Biden’s homes and office space, that is insufficient to establish a crime was committed. The illegal retention or dissemination of national defense information requires that he knew of the existence of such documents and that he knew they contained national defense information. It is not a crime without those additional elements. Our investigation, after a thorough year-long review, concludes that there is an absence of such necessary proof. Indeed, we have found a number of innocent explanations as to which we found no contrary evidence to refute them and found affirmative evidence in support of them.”

Below we first identify the relevant contents of the Hur report. We then provide a sampling of the erroneous press pronouncements.

I. What the Hur Report Actually Found

We let the Hur report speak for itself. For ease of reference, we group the report’s findings into several categories. However, we should emphasize one general finding at the outset. The Hur report states:

“In addition to this shortage of evidence, there are other innocent explanations for the documents that we cannot refute.” (p. 6)

Given the circumlocution in that statement, you may need to read it more than once. The statement alone is inconsistent with all the headlines below. Onto the more specific findings that are relevant to the elements of any potential criminal offenses. …

1. Lack of Evidence of Knowledge that Information Was Classified

  • “Mr. Biden should have known that by reading his unfiltered notes about classified meetings in the Situation Room, he risked sharing classified information with his ghostwriter. But the evidence does not show that when Mr. Biden shared the specific passages with his ghostwriter, Mr. Biden knew the passages were classified and intended to share classified information .” (p. 9-10)

Note: We note that this articulation is so reminiscent of James Comey’s embroidering of the facts: the bottom line is in the second sentence; the first sentence is irrelevant and serves no prosecutorial purpose, which leaves one to rightly wonder why it is included.

  • “The memo concerned deliberations from more than seven years earlier about the Afghanistan troop surge, and in the intervening years those deliberations had been widely discussed in public, so Mr. Biden could have reasonably expected that the memo’s contents became less sensitive over time. Because we cannot prove that he knew the memo was classified when he left office, we cannot prove that retaining the memo, he willfully retained national defense information .” (p. 221)
  • “ These facts do not support a conclusion that Mr. Biden willfully retained the marked classified documents in these binders . The cover of one binder was marked unclassified, the other had no classification marking, and we cannot show that Mr. Biden reviewed the binders after his vice presidency or knew the classified documents were inside. It is plausible that he retained these documents by mistake.” (p. 332-333)
  • “In addition, Mr. Biden told us in his interview that he does not recognize the marking “Confidential” as a classification marking. To him, the marking means the document should be held in confidence, but not necessarily that it is classified. Although “Confidential” is, in fact, a category of classified information enumerated in the governing executive order, we would likely be unable to refute Mr. Biden’s claim that he did not know this. ” (p. 221-222)

2. Lack of Evidence of Willful Retention

  • “Some of the documents in these files were marked classified, though, because of the passage of time, we do not know whether Mr. Biden willfully retained the classified documents or consulted them when writing the book .” (p. 170)
  • “We were limited in our ability to investigate these documents because of the significant passage of time since their creation. Although we cannot prove that Mr. Biden retained these classified documents willfully or used them in writing Promises to Keep, he did write about the foreign trips that were the subject of the documents.” (p. 177)
  • “[T]hree notebooks found in Mr. Biden’s Delaware home had marked classified documents placed inside them. One of these notebooks, labeled “Af/Pak 1,” is discussed in Chapter Six. For the other two, the evidence does not suggest either that Mr. Biden retained the classified documents inside them willfully, or that the documents contain national defense information .” (p. 326)
  • “ Several defenses are likely to create reasonable doubt as to such charges. For example, Mr. Biden could have found the classified Afghanistan documents at his Virginia home in 2017 and then forgotten about them soon after. This could convince some reasonable jurors that he did not retain them willfully …. And the place where the Afghanistan documents were eventually found in Mr. Biden’s Delaware garage-in a badly damaged box surrounded by household detritus -suggests the documents might have been forgotten.” (p.4)
  • “It is possible that Mr. Biden encountered the classified Afghanistan documents at the Virginia home in February 2017, told Zwonitzer about them, and then, soon after, forgot about them and did not willfully retain them .” (p. 205)
  • “There is some indication that Mr. Biden’s staff may have advised him that his notecards contained classified information and needed to be held in a secured location. But the investigation did not determine what, if anything, Mr. Biden’s staffers actually told him on this subject .” (p. 65)
  • “ For each of the marked classified documents found in Mr. Biden’s notebooks, we cannot prove that Mr. Biden knew about or intended to keep the document after he was vice president, or we cannot prove the document contains national defense information, or both. These documents do not support criminal charges against Mr. Biden.” (p. 329)

Box of Afghanistan documents found in Delaware home garage:

  • “ While it is natural to assume that Mr. Biden put the Afghanistan documents in the box on purpose and that he knew they were there, there is in fact a shortage of evidence on these points . We do not know why, how, or by whom the documents were placed in the box. We do not know whether or when Mr. Biden carefully reviewed the box’s contents. We do not know why only some of Mr. Biden’s classified Afghanistan memos to President Obama from the fall of 2009 were found in the box, but several other memos he wrote during that time were not. And we do not know why Mr. Biden would have wanted to keep some of the other marked classified documents in the box—in particular, a classified document relating to President Obama’s second term foreign policy goals, which was kept in a folder right next to the Afghanistan documents, and which served no particular purpose of Mr. Biden’s of which we are aware.” (pp. 215-216)
  • “A reasonable juror could also conclude that, even if Mr. Biden found classified documents about Afghanistan in his Virginia home in February 2017, and even if he remembered he had them after that day, and even if they were the same documents found in his garage six years later and one hundred miles away in Delaware, there is a shortage of evidence that he found both the “Afganastan” folder and the “Facts First” folder …. And if Mr. Biden saw only the “Afganastan” folder and not the “Facts First” folder, which did contain national defense information, he did not willfully retain such national defense information. ” (pp. 216-217)

Penn Biden Center and University of Delaware:

  • “The evidence suggests that the marked classified documents found at the Penn Biden Center were sent and kept there by mistake.” (p. 311)
  • “In January, February, and June 2023, FBI agents identified and recovered just over a dozen marked classified documents in Mr. Biden’s Senate-era papers housed at the University of Delaware. Almost all of these documents predate the Senate’s establishment of rules for the tracking and handling of classified information. The evidence does not suggest that Mr. Biden willfully retained these documents . Rather, they appear to have been included in his large collection of Senate papers by mistake .” (p. 312)
  • “ The evidence does not establish that Mr. Biden or anyone else knowingly removed or retained the classified documents found at the University of Delaware . These documents appear to have been included in his Senate papers by mistake.” (p. 323)
  • “ No evidence suggests he knew these classified documents were within his massive collection of Senate papers . Further, given the age of the documents, we found no evidence that Mr. Biden personally viewed any of them while he was a member of the Senate . Mr. Biden sat on the committee that generated these documents, but it is entirely plausible they were handled by a staff member and that Mr. Biden never handled the documents himself before they were filed among his papers. There is also no record of Mr. Biden’s review of the documents before or after he donated them to the University. ” (p. 323)
  • “For these reasons, it is likely that the few classified documents found in Mr. Biden’s Senate papers were there by mistake .” (p. 325)
  • “There is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Biden intentionally retained the classified documents in the EYES ONLY envelope after his term as vice president or caused his staff to do so. Instead, the evidence supports an innocent explanation for the unauthorized retention of those documents.” (p. 304)
  • “In summary, the innocent explanation for the retention of the classified documents in the EYES ONLY envelope at the Penn Biden Center is not only plausible, it is a better explanation than one of willful retention. There is thus insufficient evidence to support charging Mr. Biden or anyone else with willful retention of the documents in the EYES ONLY envelope at the Penn Biden Center .” (p. 307)
  • “ The evidence does not suggest that Mr. Biden willfully retained documents A1 or A2 , which related to engagement with China in President Obama’s second term and a summary of meetings with foreign leaders during a United Nations General Assembly Week …. The more plausible explanation for the unauthorized retention of documents A1 and A2 is that the executive assistant stored and moved documents A1 and A2 to the Penn Biden Center unwittingly.” (p. 307-308)
  • “There is insufficient evidence to show Mr. Biden willfully retained document A8 for many of the same reasons as documents A1 and A2. Document A8 is a background memo for a meeting with a foreign leader …. For many of the same reasons as stated for documents A1 and A2, the more plausible explanation for the unauthorized retention of document A8 is that the executive assistant stored and moved it to the Penn Biden Center unwittingly.” (p. 309-310)

3. Lack of Evidence of Willful Disclosure

  • “[W]e conclude that the evidence does not establish that Mr. Biden willfully disclosed national defense information to Zwonitzer. ” (p. 248)
  • “This evidence shows that Mr. Biden disclosed classified information to Zwonitzer, who was not authorized to receive it. But the evidence falls short of proving that Mr. Biden did so willfully—that is, that he knew these notebook passages were classified and that he intended to share classified information with Zwonitzer .” (p. 245)

4. Lack of Evidence of Transportation of Documents

  • “ We were unable to determine how the marked classified Afghanistan documents got from the White House, where Mr. Biden possessed them as vice president in 2009, to his Delaware home , where they were found in 2022 …. Ultimately, we could not determine precisely when the box containing the Afghanistan documents got into the garage, or who put the documents there .” (p. 150)
  • “But there are alternative explanations for how the Afghanistan documents got into the garage box that are also consistent with the evidence described above. As discussed in Chapter Eleven, we find the evidence as a whole insufficient to meet the government’s burden of proving that Mr. Biden willfully retained the Afghanistan documents in the Virginia home in 2017 .” (p. 168-169)

5. Lack of Evidence of Possession

The Hur report centers on one of the apparently most incriminating statements by Biden to his ghostwriter. While in his home in Virginia. Biden said he had “just found all the classified stuff downstairs.” The question is what he meant and whether there was any evidence the home in Virginia actually ever stored the relevant documents. The Hur report found an absence of evidence. His report states he found no evidence that “conclusively” places the relevant documents at the location, but it appears to be no evidence more generally if at all:

  • “Given Mr. Biden’s limited precision and recall during his interviews with his ghostwriter and with our office, jurors may hesitate to place too much evidentiary weight on a single eight-word utterance to his ghostwriter about finding classified documents in Virginia, in the absence of other, more direct evidence. We searched for such additional evidence and found it wanting . In particular, no witness, photo, email, text message, or any other evidence conclusively places the Afghanistan documents at the Virginia home in 2017.” (p. 5-6)
  • “We were unable to determine whether any classified documents were inadvertently moved to the Virginia home when Mr. Biden moved out of the Naval Observatory.” (p. 152-153)
  • “ Another viable defense is that Mr. Biden might not have retained the classified Afghanistan documents in his Virginia home at all . They could have been stored, by mistake and without his knowledge , at his Delaware home since the time he was vice president, as were other classified documents recovered during our investigation. This would rebut charges that he willfully retained the documents in Virginia .” (p. 5)
  • “The second potential defense argument is that Mr. Biden may not have retained the classified Afghanistan documents in Virginia home at all. While there is evidence that he did, most notably his recorded statement to Zwonitzer in February 2017, that evidence is not conclusive. First, as discussed in Chapter Seven, while the evidence provides clues classified Afghanistan documents were stored in the Virginia home, there is no definitive evidence putting them there .” (p. 211)
  • “Mr. Biden could have found only some of the classified Afghanistan documents in the Virginia home in 2017-the ones in the manila “Afghanistan” folder found in it is unclear whether this folder contained national defense information . This too would rebut charges that he willfully retained national defense information, as required by the criminal Statute.” (pp. 204-05)
  • “When Mr. Biden told his ghostwriter he “just found all the classified stuff downstairs,” he could have been referring to something other than the Afghanistan documents, and our report discusses these possibilities in detail .” (p. 6)

6. Evidence of Intent to Return Classified Documents

Around the same time as the relevant period, Biden proactively returned other classified documents to government authorities that he discovered in his home. The report notes this evidence supports Biden’s innocence.

  • “But another inference the evidence permits is that Mr. Biden returned the binder of classified material to the personal aide because, after leaving office, Mr. Biden did not intend to retain any marked classified documents . As Mr. Biden said in his interview with our office, if he had found marked classified documents after the vice presidency, “I would have gotten rid of them. I would have gotten them back to their source…. I had no purpose for them, and I think it would be inappropriate for me to keep clearly classified documents.” Some reasonable jurors may credit this statement and conclude that if Mr. Biden found the classified Afghanistan documents in the Virginia home, he forgot about them rather than willfully retaining them .” (p. 206)
  • “Many will conclude that a president who knew he was illegally storing classified documents in his home would not have allowed a search of his home to discover those documents and then answered the government’s questions afterwards. While various parts of this argument are debatable, we expect the argument will carry real force for many reasonable jurors . These jurors will conclude that Mr. Biden–a powerful, sophisticated person with access to the best advice in the world would not have handed the government classified documents from his own home on a silver platter if he had willfully retained those documents for years . Just as a person who destroys evidence and lies often proves his guilt, a person who produces evidence and cooperates will be seen by many to be innocent.” (p. 210)

7. Evidence of Belief that Documents Were Permissibly Retained, e.g., as “Personal Records”

One of the central issues is whether Biden believed his handwritten notebooks counted as “personal records” under the Presidential Records Act ( § 2201(3)(A) ), which could provide a defense. The Hur report finds evidence that Biden did hold this belief, including a contemporaneously recorded conversation with Biden in 2017.

  • “We expect Mr. Biden also to contend that the presence of classified information in what he viewed as his diary did not change his thinking. As a member of the exclusive club of former presidents and vice presidents, Mr. Biden will claim that he knew such officials kept diaries, and he knew or expected that those diaries-like Mr. Reagan’s-contained classified information. He also understood that former presidents and vice presidents took their diaries home upon leaving office, without being investigated or prosecuted for it. Thus, whatever McGrail now thinks of the matter, Mr. Biden will claim that it did not occur to him to store what he thought of as his personal diaries -which he held close for eight years- at the National Archives , and he certainly did not know that by failing to do so he committed a crime. Contemporaneous evidence from immediately after the vice presidency supports this defense. In a recorded conversation with Zwonitzer on April 26, 2017, three months after leaving office, Mr. Biden said the following:
Biden: I’m told by [a personal aide], I guess he checked with you, in order for me to get my, uh, get all those presidential notes I had for lunch, the luncheon meetings, I have to go to McGrail? Assistant: Yes, McGrail has them. We were supposed to turn it in and that is the last person who had them. Mr. Biden: OK. Uh. See if you can get me McGrail on the line while I have you now. OK? And stay on okay? Assistant: Got it sir. Hold on. Zwonitzer: This is probably something that goes to the presidential papers. Mr. Biden: I don’t think so. It was in between. I didn’t want to turn them in. Zwonitzer: Right so, it’s the gray area.” (p. 236).

Note: This excerpt above includes the statement that Biden “certainly did not know that by failing to do so he committed a crime.” That is a misstatement of the law. The offense requires knowledge and willfulness . The wording in the report may mislead readers.

  • “During our interview of him, Mr. Biden was emphatic, declaring that his notebooks are “my property” and that “every president before me has done the exact same thing,” that is, kept handwritten classified materials after leaving office. He also cited the diaries that President Reagan kept in his private home after leaving office, noting that they included classified information .” (p. 8)
  • “ Contemporaneous evidence suggests that when Mr. Biden left office in 2017, he believed he was allowed to keep the notebooks in his home . In a recorded conversation with his ghostwriter in April 2017, Mr. Biden explained that, despite his staff’s views to the contrary, he did not think he was required to turn in his notecards to the National Archives–where they were stored in a SCIF–and he had not wanted to do so. At trial, he would argue plausibly that he thought the same about his notebooks .” (p. 8-9)
  • “After the Act’s passage, at least one former president, President Reagan, left office with his presidential diaries, which contained classified information, and stored those diaries at his private home. The Department of Justice, the National Archives, and others knew that President Reagan treated his diaries (containing classified information) as personal property, but no agency took action to recover the classified materials or to investigate or prosecute the former president …. The Department of Justice also repeatedly described the diaries in public court filings as Mr. Reagan’s personal records. ” (p. 193-195)
  • “The wider American public also knew of the existence of Mr. Reagan’s diaries. Indeed, the diaries served as sources for at least three publications that Mr. Reagan or his representatives authorized: (1) An American Life, Mr. Reagan’s autobiography published in 1990; (2) Dutch, a biography authored by Edmund Morris and published in 1999; and (3) The Reagan Diaries, a collection of the diaries themselves first published in 2007 after Mr. Reagan’s death.” (p. 197)
  • “That Mr. Biden was mistaken in his legal judgment is not enough to prove he acted willfully , which requires intent to do something the law forbids.” (p. 239)

8. Evidence of Retention By Mistake

  • “A reasonable juror could conclude that this is not where a person intentionally stores what he supposedly considers to be important classified documents, critical to his legacy. Rather, it looks more like a place a person stores classified documents he has f orgotten about or is unaware of .” (p. 209)
  • “After more than forty years in the highest ranks of government, he was accustomed to having staff members attend to the details of handling, storing, and retrieving classified documents. For a person of his position, the presence of classified documents might not have been noteworthy, and it may have seemed natural that someone else would inevitably take care of it, because, for Mr. Biden, that is how it had nearly always worked .” (p. 205-06)
  • “FBI agents found one document with classification markings in the third-level den area …. We cannot show that Mr. Biden knew this document was in his home, and the location of this document with unrelated materials makes it plausible that it was filed in error and that Mr. Biden kept this document by mistake .” (p. 333)
  • “For other recovered classified documents, after a thorough investigation the decision to decline criminal charges was straightforward. The FBI recovered additional marked classified documents at the Penn Biden Center, elsewhere in Mr. Biden’s Delaware home, and in collections of his Senate papers at the University of Delaware, but the evidence suggests that Mr. Biden did not willfully retain these documents and that they could plausibly have been brought to these locations by mistake. We also investigated whether persons other than Mr. Biden knowingly mishandled these classified documents, and our investigation showed that they did not. In reaching these conclusions, we note the numerous previous instances in which marked classified documents have been discovered intermixed with the personal papers of former Executive Branch officials and members of Congress .” (p. 12)

II. What the Media Reported

The headlines below are also reflected in the content of news reports (see, e.g., this example by the New York Times .) 

how to write findings in article review

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/4456524-special-counsel-biden-classified-documents-probe-no-charges/

how to write findings in article review

The authors thank Clara Apt and Elise Barber for their excellent assistance in research.

Photo credit: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

About the author(s), andrew weissmann.

Andrew Weissmann ( @AWeissmann_ ) is Professor of Practice and Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Reiss Center on Law and Security and at the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at NYU School of Law. He served as a lead prosecutor in Robert S. Mueller’s Special Counsel’s Office (2017-2019), as Chief of the Fraud Section in the Department of Justice (2015-2019), and as General Counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (2011-2013).

Ryan Goodman

Ryan Goodman ( @rgoodlaw ) is co-editor-in-chief of Just Security and Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law.

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9 Key Revelations in Maui’s First Review of the Lahaina Inferno

Officials provided the first comprehensive look at where the 100 victims of the Aug. 8 wildfire were found.

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Emergency and recover vehicles traverse a road that cuts through a landscape of burned buildings and trees, seen from above.

By Mike Baker and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs

Six months after a firestorm destroyed the town of Lahaina , Hawaii, a detailed new report on the tragedy reveals that a large number of victims died along a single street — a stark indication of the ferocity of the blaze that swept through the historic island town, killing 100 people.

The 98-page report from the Maui Police Department on the Aug. 8 disaster came after months of pressure to provide more information about the fire and the government’s response to it, which has been criticized for failing to adequately warn residents in time for them to evacuate.

It provides a detailed timeline of a fire that started near a downed electrical line in the morning hours, then flared up in the afternoon and burned through the city for hours. As residents fled for their lives, many were unable to leave because key exit routes were blocked by downed power lines, trees and the raging fire itself.

The fire claimed victims across a distance of more than two miles, and possibly over many hours, the report showed, including in neighborhoods that were already ablaze before evacuation alerts were issued.

Here are nine key revelations from the report.

Many deaths on one street

Some of the fire’s victims were found in the north part of the town, and another cluster was discovered to the south, according to maps produced by Maui county.

But the majority were in the city center. About one-third of them were found along Kuhua Street, a short road lined with residences on one side, about a half-mile from the shore. That street has a dead end to the west, and survivors have described how they struggled to escape to the east because a downed tree was blocking the roadway.

Location of Victims

how to write findings in article review

Evacuation alert

area at 4:16 p.m.

kuhua stREET

how to write findings in article review

Kuhua Street

Among the deaths along Kuhua Street was the fire’s youngest victim, 7-year-old Tony Takafua , who died with several family members. Many others also died on neighboring residential streets, as those who had little warning about the blaze struggled to escape amid thick smoke and flying embers.

The report also revealed that fewer than half of the victims — 42 in all — were found inside buildings, while 39 were found outside. Fifteen others were found in vehicles, and one in the ocean. Three more people were taken to a hospital before being pronounced dead.

A delayed evacuation order

A detailed timeline of events describes a series of calls to emergency dispatchers, reporting a fast-spreading fire at 2:55 p.m. Officers soon began evacuating neighboring areas, the report said.

But it does not explore the county’s delay before issuing a broader evacuation alert. The county made a decision not to use its all-hazards siren system and waited until 4:16 p.m. to send a cellphone evacuation alert . That alert was targeted at residential neighborhoods above the Honoapiʻilani Highway.

Fire had already consumed much of the area targeted for evacuation. At the exact time the evacuation alerts were going out, the new timeline shows, officers were reporting that the fire had spread all the way down to the highway and was jumping the road — toward waterfront areas that never received an evacuation alert.

Inside the Emergency Operations Center

The after-action report found that the Maui Emergency Management Agency “fully activated” its emergency operations center at 5:50 p.m., about three hours after the fire had already started its rapid spread. By that time, the fire had moved more than a mile through town; many buildings on celebrated Front Street were engulfed in flames.

The report did not explore why the operations center waited so long to fully activate. It had been partially activated the day before, when weather forecasters warned of the likelihood of very high winds. The head of the emergency management agency, Herman Andaya, was away from Maui attending a conference at the time of the fires; he resigned in the days afterward .

Some victims appear to have died hours after the fire began

The timeline shows that the fire, which flared shortly before 3 p.m., was still spreading, hours later, into new areas of the town. Four hours later, after 7 p.m., the report describes the fire pushing south toward homes where some victims were later found dead, suggesting that long after the fire had turned into a full-blown crisis, residents who may not have initially seen themselves in danger — or who were unable to evacuate — were overcome.

After 8 p.m., the report says, the fire began threatening a neighborhood on the north side of town, near where other victims were also discovered.

Firefighters have said that as the fire was spreading, their hydrants in Lahaina started to run dry because the water system was collapsing.

Misinformation

The authorities found that many false claims were advanced on the internet in the wake of the fire, including inflated body count figures, suggestions that a mysterious beam of light had ignited the fire, and a particularly prevalent conspiracy theory that Maui officials were downplaying or hiding the number of missing and killed children.

The report says that the Maui Police Department had been in contact with the state’s Education Department, which was able to contact “all of their students,” including those who had left Maui or Hawaii altogether, eliminating any possibility that children were missing.

Officials had reviewed social media posts daily, the report said, seeking video and firsthand accounts of the fire, but the report recommended hiring a full-time social media manager.

A cold case unit has been activated

While the authorities searched for thousands who were initially unaccounted for after the fire, many of those people were found to be safe. Four people, however, are still classified as “missing.”

Those cases have been referred to a cold case unit that will seek to determine if the individuals are alive somewhere, or, if not, whether their remains can be discovered and identified.

An extraordinary event

The report highlights some of the extraordinary challenges that made the response to the fire uniquely difficult.

Cellphone service failed. Individual remains were sometimes mingled with each other upon collection, making identification difficult and time consuming. In some cases workers at the morgue had to do their work on portable tables placed outside.

In one case, a police officer used straps tied to his vehicle to pull down a fence in order to create an escape route. In another, a firefighter needed to borrow a police officer’s vehicle.

Mayor’s response

Officials provided relatively little detail about the rapidly expanding emergency in the early hours of the blaze, and the after-action report does little to explain why.

Citizens made 17 calls to emergency officials in the first minutes of the flare-up, and desperate efforts to evacuate engulfed neighborhoods took place throughout the afternoon. But when Mayor Richard Bissen appeared on a 6 p.m. newscast, he appeared to be unaware of the severity of the fire, saying he was “happy to report” that a road had reopened.

At a news conference a few weeks after the fire, Mr. Bissen declined to say when he had learned the fire had become a crisis. As pressure built on his office to say more, he eventually acknowledged that he hadn’t known anyone had died until the following morning. He said the severity of the fire was not clear in part because “our firefighters and police on the ground placed all of their efforts and actions toward helping people.”

The new after-action report notes that power and cellphone service had been reduced during the fire, but that officers were still able to communicate via police radio.

Lessons learned

The report provided dozens of recommendations for how to respond to major emergencies in the future. Noting that officers who were outside their vehicles had trouble hearing radio transmissions in the ferocious wind, the report recommended providing officers with ear pieces. Because so many roadways were obstructed by trees or power lines, the report advised equipping some police vehicles with breaching kits that could be used to clear roadblocks.

Other recommendations focused on urging the use of body-worn cameras upon dispatch, increasing training for disaster scenarios and death investigations and installing more real-time monitoring cameras throughout the county to help track conditions and warn of potential emergencies before they become life-threatening.

Mike Baker is a national reporter for The Times, based in Seattle. More about Mike Baker

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs reports on national stories across the United States with a focus on criminal justice. He is from upstate New York. More about Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs

Our Coverage of the Hawaii Wildfires

What began as scattered brush fires on the state’s biggest islands, hawaii and maui, turned into one of the worst natural disasters in hawaii’s history..

Looking Back at the Disaster: Six months after the fire destroyed the town of Lahaina, Hawaii, the Maui Police Department released a detailed new report on the tragedy. Here are some key findings .

Legacies That Live On: Authorities have identified the last known person out of 100 people who died in the wildfire that tore through Lahaina on the island of Maui. Young and old, those lost won’t be forgotten .

Honoring the Past: As conversations about rebuilding the town of Lahaina after the devastating fires take shape, Native Hawaiians are asking that their place in local history be recognized .

A Bribery Scandal:  For years, a local businessman on Maui paid off officials in exchange for lucrative contracts. As the island recovers from the wildfires, the contract-monitoring system he exploited has been left largely unchanged .

Return of Tourism: The entire island of Maui is bracing for the return of tourism even as disaster relief efforts continue. But the path to recovery remains uncertain .

A Redemption Story Cut Short: Po’omaika’i Estores-Losano was 28, with two sons, a passion for music and a rocky past he was hoping to atone for. But the Maui wildfires stripped him of his chance to fix his mistakes .

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    First steps Literature review Systematic review Meta-analysis Evidence-based clinical review Mistakes To write an article of any sort is, to some extent, to reveal ourselves. Hence, even a medical article is, in a sense, something of an autobiography. American surgeon J. Chalmers DaCosta (1863-1938) [ 1] Download chapter PDF

  14. LibGuides: How to write a journal article review: Do the writing

    3. A critique, or a discussion about the key points of the journal article. A critique is a discussion about the key points of the journal article. It should be a balanced discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of the key points and structure of the article.. You will also need to discuss if the author(s) points are valid (supported by other literature) and robust (would you get the ...

  15. Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Literature Review

    Reviewing the literature requires the ability to juggle multiple tasks, from finding and evaluating relevant material to synthesising information from various sources, from critical thinking to paraphrasing, evaluating, and citation skills [7].

  16. What is a review article?

    A review article can also be called a literature review, or a review of literature. It is a survey of previously published research on a topic. It should give an overview of current thinking on the topic. And, unlike an original research article, it will not present new experimental results. Writing a review of literature is to provide a ...

  17. Writing a good review article

    Define your question: Take your time to identify the research question and carefully articulate the topic of your review paper. A good review should also add something new to the field in terms of a hypothesis, inference, or conclusion. A carefully defined scientific question will give you more clarity in determining the novelty of your inferences.

  18. How to Review a Journal Article

    How to Review a Journal Article For many kinds of assignments, like a literature review, you may be asked to offer a critique or review of a journal article. This is an opportunity for you as a scholar to offer your qualified opinion and evaluation of how another scholar has composed their article, argument, and research.

  19. How to Write an Article Review (with Sample Reviews)

    Follow these steps to create an effective and informative article review: 1. Understand the purpose: Before diving into the article, it is important to understand the intent of writing a review. This helps in focusing your thoughts, directing your analysis, and ensuring your review adds value to the academic community. 2.

  20. How to Write an Article Review: Types, Format, & Examples

    Tips for Writing an Effective Article Review What is an Article Review? An article review is a critical evaluation and analysis of a piece of writing, typically an academic or journalistic article. It goes beyond summarizing the content; it involves an in-depth examination of the author's ideas, arguments, and methodologies.

  21. How to Write an Article Review: Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices

    First, skim the title, abstract, headings, and conclusion. This gives you an overview of the article's main points and structure. Then, look for the thesis statement - the main argument the author is making. After that, identify topic sentences in each paragraph.

  22. How to Write an Article Review

    A Step-by-step Guide on How to Write an Article Review Master the art of writing an article review with this step-by-step guide from professional paper help providers. Step 1: Select the Right Article The first step is to pick a suitable article for a review. Choose a scholarly source that's connected to your area of study.

  23. How To Write an Article Review

    How to write a good article review Article review examples Learning how to write a review paper is not easy because it takes time to read and review the original content. Since it must be done through the lens of certain objectives and arguments, most college students find it extremely difficult.

  24. The Real "Robert Hur Report" (Versus What You Read in the News)

    Indeed, the report, on page 6, notes that there are "innocent explanations" that Hur "cannot refute." That is but one of myriad examples we outline in great detail below of the report repeatedly finding a lack of proof. And those findings mean, in DOJ-speak, there is simply no case.

  25. 9 Key Revelations in Maui's First Review of the Lahaina Inferno

    Here are some key findings. Legacies That Live On: Authorities have identified the last known person out of 100 people who died in the wildfire that tore through Lahaina on the island of Maui ...

  26. Special counsel report concludes Biden willfully retained ...

    Special counsel Robert Hur released a searing report Thursday that concluded President Joe Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified military and national security information but will not ...

  27. People are using ChatGPT to write performance reviews

    What they're saying: A former manager at Dropbox (who asked to remain anonymous) says she has used ChatGPT to help write performance reviews for direct reports and peers because, she tells Axios, the review process at big tech companies can be "exhausting," "tedious" and "bureaucratic." She also used it to write her self reviews, "particularly ...