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What is a review article?

Learn how to write a review article.

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 critical evaluation of the data available from existing studies. Review articles can identify potential research areas to explore next, and sometimes they will draw new conclusions from the existing data.

Why write a review article?

To provide a comprehensive foundation on a topic.

To explain the current state of knowledge.

To identify gaps in existing studies for potential future research.

To highlight the main methodologies and research techniques.

Did you know? 

There are some journals that only publish review articles, and others that do not accept them.

Make sure you check the  aims and scope  of the journal you’d like to publish in to find out if it’s the right place for your review article.

How to write a review article

Below are 8 key items to consider when you begin writing your review article.

Check the journal’s aims and scope

Make sure you have read the aims and scope for the journal you are submitting to and follow them closely. Different journals accept different types of articles and not all will accept review articles, so it’s important to check this before you start writing.

Define your scope

Define the scope of your review article and the research question you’ll be answering, making sure your article contributes something new to the field. 

As award-winning author Angus Crake told us, you’ll also need to “define the scope of your review so that it is manageable, not too large or small; it may be necessary to focus on recent advances if the field is well established.” 

Finding sources to evaluate

When finding sources to evaluate, Angus Crake says it’s critical that you “use multiple search engines/databases so you don’t miss any important ones.” 

For finding studies for a systematic review in medical sciences,  read advice from NCBI . 

Writing your title, abstract and keywords

Spend time writing an effective title, abstract and keywords. This will help maximize the visibility of your article online, making sure the right readers find your research. Your title and abstract should be clear, concise, accurate, and informative. 

For more information and guidance on getting these right, read our guide to writing a good abstract and title  and our  researcher’s guide to search engine optimization . 

Introduce the topic

Does a literature review need an introduction? Yes, always start with an overview of the topic and give some context, explaining why a review of the topic is necessary. Gather research to inform your introduction and make it broad enough to reach out to a large audience of non-specialists. This will help maximize its wider relevance and impact. 

Don’t make your introduction too long. Divide the review into sections of a suitable length to allow key points to be identified more easily.

Include critical discussion

Make sure you present a critical discussion, not just a descriptive summary of the topic. If there is contradictory research in your area of focus, make sure to include an element of debate and present both sides of the argument. You can also use your review paper to resolve conflict between contradictory studies.

What researchers say

Angus Crake, researcher

As part of your conclusion, include making suggestions for future research on the topic. Focus on the goal to communicate what you understood and what unknowns still remains.

Use a critical friend

Always perform a final spell and grammar check of your article before submission. 

You may want to ask a critical friend or colleague to give their feedback before you submit. If English is not your first language, think about using a language-polishing service.

Find out more about how  Taylor & Francis Editing Services can help improve your manuscript before you submit.

What is the difference between a research article and a review article?

Before you submit your review article….

Complete this checklist before you submit your review article:

Have you checked the journal’s aims and scope?

Have you defined the scope of your article?

Did you use multiple search engines to find sources to evaluate?

Have you written a descriptive title and abstract using keywords?

Did you start with an overview of the topic?

Have you presented a critical discussion?

Have you included future suggestions for research in your conclusion?

Have you asked a friend to do a final spell and grammar check?

review articles the

Expert help for your manuscript

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Taylor & Francis Editing Services  offers a full range of pre-submission manuscript preparation services to help you improve the quality of your manuscript and submit with confidence.

Related resources

How to edit your paper

Writing a scientific literature review

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75 Easy Food Resolutions To Help You Eat Better in the New Year – Healthy Recipes To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Best september dinner recipes – what to cook in september 2023, best chili cheese burgers recipe – how to make chili cheese burgers, best brown butter carrots recipe – how to make brown butter, best keto chocolate cake recipe – how to make keto chocolate cake, 19 easy baking recipes for kids – baking with kids, best creme brûlée sheet cake recipe – how to make creme brûlée sheet cake, best healthy chicken breast recipes — 25 chicken breast recipe ideas, 23 best stuffed zucchini recipes – easy zucchini boats, best fuzzy navel recipe – how to make fuzzy navel, how to write an article review (with sample reviews)  .

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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”


“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.


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.


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.


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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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.


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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Editors’ choice

9 New Books We Recommend This Week

Suggested reading from critics and editors at The New York Times.

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Every week in this space, we quote from our reviews of the books we recommend — but we rarely quote from the books themselves, largely because the reviews we link to do such a good job of that on their own, and with context to boot. But what the heck. This week our recommended books include a poetry collection, Robyn Schiff’s “Information Desk,” that offers a reminiscence of her post-college job at the Metropolitan Museum of Art while skipping merrily through sparkling ideas about art and nature and youth and life. Good quotes abound, as in this wry observation on the artistic temperament: “When someone tells me he’s inspired/I usually take/it to mean someone else/does his dishes.”

We also recommend a memoir about food and literature by The Times’s book critic Dwight Garner, whose way with a sentence will be familiar to regular readers of our books coverage. That skill is manifest throughout his memoir as well. Here he is, for instance, on the appeal that the chef Jacques Pépin’s cooking videos exerted during the early days of Covid lockdown: “With people out of work, and others fearful of joining them, and still others shell-shocked and instinctively practicing thrift, Pépin’s recipes spoke to a moment. I found many of his videos to be, on certain insomniac nights, strangely and almost unbearably moving. His age, his battered good looks, his accent, the slight sibilance in his voice, his culinary erudition worn lightly, his finely honed knife skills, and the ’70s-era funk of his wood-paneled kitchen: It was a mesmerizing package. I especially liked to watch him cook eggs.”

There’s more to read this week, of course, including a novel that pays homage to Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House” along with fiction from Teju Cole, Marie NDiaye, Jessica Knoll and others. In nonfiction, we recommend a collection of journalism out of Russia and a history of the vexing, fascinating attempt to study the mysteries of sleep. Happy reading.

—Gregory Cowles


Apparitions, black hares and time warps festoon this fitting — and frightening — homage to Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House,” in which Hand mines the source material for structure and storytelling beats rather than relying on superficial similarities.

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“Above all, it’s scary. Hand’s facility with language and atmosphere and use of short, propulsive chapters work their own dark magic.”

From Emily C. Hughes’s review

Mulholland | $27


Knoll’s assured novel begins near the end of the serial killer Ted Bundy’s gruesome spree: at a Florida sorority house where he attacked four sisters in 1978. Knoll pooh-poohs Bundy’s ballyhooed intelligence, celebrating instead the promise and perspicacity of his penultimate victims.

review articles the

“Packed with moments when you feel the size of the deck stacked against any woman, young or old, who dares to be ‘bright.’ There’s always something in the dark that curses the glittering and the hopeful.”

From Patton Oswalt’s review

Marysue Rucci | $27.99


First published in 1972, and newly reissued, this is a bubbly, empathetic and ultimately lovely novel of a belated coming-of-age in 1960s London. The heroine’s haunted relationship with her mother, and the ways that relationship reprises itself in her romantic life, give her story substance.

review articles the

“From the first page of this clever, fishy little novel, our narrator, Sophie, is the kind of woman whose laughter is a weapon. She could scare off an assailant with one well-timed whack of her tongue.”

From Mary Marge Locker’s review

New Directions | Paperback, $17.95

TREMOR Teju Cole

Cole’s new novel collects the reflections of a Nigerian American professor who uses art to explore traumatic, sometimes violent histories. Paintings, photographs, antiques of dubious provenance: All prompt questions of identity, perspective and power, and invite readers to scrutinize themselves.

review articles the

“The most sundry and vagrant of Cole’s works to date. … The reader is at first seduced by Cole’s mastery of anecdote before being immersed in rich, sometimes discomfiting ideas.”

From Brian Dillon’s review

Random House | $28


NDiaye’s latest psychological thriller, translated by Jordan Stump, follows a lawyer named Maître Susane who is reunited with a man she knew when they were both teenagers. But his presence brings fear rather than comfort: Something happened in his bedroom 30 years ago, and Maître Susane can’t recall what.

review articles the

“As in NDiaye’s other novels, the story lives not in the incident but its aftermath.”

From Lovia Gyarkye’s review

Knopf | $28

THE UPSTAIRS DELICATESSEN: On Eating, Reading, Reading About Eating, and Eating While Reading Dwight Garner

Ranging from his boyhood in Florida and West Virginia to his adult life as an editor and reviewer, this intimate and joyful memoir by a Times book critic valorizes an unpretentious and hungry way of reading, eating and living with gusto.

review articles the

“What’s refreshing here is that Garner never problematizes his eating and reading habits; they were and remain the engine of his vitality.”

From Jennifer Reese’s review

Farrar, Straus & Giroux | $27

I LOVE RUSSIA: Reporting From a Lost Country Elena Kostyuchenko

Originally published in an independent Russian newspaper, and translated here by Bela Shayevich and Ilona Yazhbin Chavasse, this collection of articles by a journalist who has since relocated to the West casts sympathetic light on the struggles of her country’s far-flung citizens.

review articles the

“Kaleidoscopic. … Traces the recent evolution of Russian society, highlighting its persistent inequality and injustice, and suggesting why so many Russians stay silent as their leader prosecutes a ruinous war.”

From Valerie Hopkins’s review

Penguin Press | $30

MAPPING THE DARKNESS: The Visionary Scientists Who Unlocked the Mysteries of Sleep Kenneth Miller

The field of sleep science has had a turbulent history: often treated with skepticism, frequently underfunded and filled with restless characters. Miller, a journalist, presents his story with brio and a certain wonder.

review articles the

“Commanding, bright and deft. ... Cuts and flows through the last century of impossibly complex stop-start progress in the measuring and quantifying of sleep — why we do it, and how. None of it is simple and all of it is captivating.”

From Samantha Harvey’s review

Hachette | $32.50

INFORMATION DESK: An Epic Robyn Schiff

Schiff took a routine job in the Metropolitan Museum of Art soon after college; these poems revisit that time in short, staggered lines that are perceptive and often comic.

review articles the

“While ‘Information Desk’ is about many things, at its core is the idea that one work of art begets another. ... Artists of every kind both reinvent themselves and add to what Schiff calls the ‘gorgeous and harrowing hoard’ of ‘magic and mundane objects’ that make up the art world.”

From David Kirby’s review

Penguin Poets | Paperback, $20

Explore More in Books

Want to know about the best books to read and the latest news start here..

Dann McDorman, the executive producer of “The Beat With Ari Melber,” gave up writing fiction in his 20s. Now, he’s publishing his first novel at age 47 .

In “Romney: A Reckoning,” the journalist McKay Coppins takes stock of Senator Mitt Romney’s career  as the politician prepares to retire from elective office.

In a new memoir, the actor John Stamos talks about honesty, sobriety and his grief  over Bob Saget’s death.

Do you want to be a better reader?   Here’s some helpful advice to show you how to get the most out of your literary endeavor .

Each week, top authors and critics join the Book Review’s podcast to talk about the latest news in the literary world. Listen here .

How to write a good scientific review article


  • 1 The FEBS Journal Editorial Office, Cambridge, UK.
  • PMID: 35792782
  • DOI: 10.1111/febs.16565

Literature reviews are valuable resources for the scientific community. With research accelerating at an unprecedented speed in recent years and more and more original papers being published, review articles have become increasingly important as a means to keep up to date with developments in a particular area of research. A good review article provides readers with an in-depth understanding of a field and highlights key gaps and challenges to address with future research. Writing a review article also helps to expand the writer's knowledge of their specialist area and to develop their analytical and communication skills, amongst other benefits. Thus, the importance of building review-writing into a scientific career cannot be overstated. In this instalment of The FEBS Journal's Words of Advice series, I provide detailed guidance on planning and writing an informative and engaging literature review.

© 2022 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.

Publication types

University of Texas

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Finding Journal Articles 101

Review article.

  • Peer-reviewed or Refereed
  • Research Article
  • By Journal Title

Not to be confused with a “peer reviewed journal,” Review articles are an attempt by one or more writers to sum up the current state of the research on a particular topic. Ideally, the writer searches for everything relevant to the topic, and then sorts it all out into a coherent view of the “state of the art” as it now stands. Review Articles will teach you about::

  • the main people working in a field
  • recent major advances and discoveries
  • significant gaps in the research
  • current debates
  • ideas of where research might go next

Review Articles are virtual gold mines if you want to find out what the key articles are for a given topic. If you read and thoroughly digest a good review article, you should be able to “talk the talk” about a given topic. Unlike research articles, review articles are good places to get a basic idea about a topic.

So, how do I find Review Articles?

In most databases and indexes, you can limit your search to include only review articles. Some databases might use the term "literature review," but it's the same thing. Set up your search like usual, then find the limit for review articles, select it, and run your search.

If you open up PubMed , you can search for review articles on the drug Paxil by putting “Paxil” in the search bar, then clicking the SEARCH button. Look at the list of filters on the left-hand side of the page of search results. Under “Article Type” you’ll see a link labeled “Review”.

Advanced Tip:

After you run your search, scroll down the results page and look on the right-hand side for the box labeled “Search Details”. This shows you the search the PubMed actually ran, as opposed to what you put in. Doing that shows that PubMed added the term “paroxetine” to your search, which is the generic name of Paxil. The search details can tell you a lot about why a search did or didn’t work the way you expected.

  • Last Updated: Aug 28, 2023 9:25 AM
  • URL: https://guides.lib.utexas.edu/journalarticles101

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Royal Society of Chemistry

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

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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.
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  • Flaherty A. A., (2020), A review of affective chemistry education research and its implications for future research, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract. , 21 , 698–713.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.

How to Write a Review Article

  • Types of Review Articles
  • Before Writing a Review Article
  • Determining Where to Publish
  • Searching the Literature
  • Citation Management
  • Reading a Review Article

What is a Review Article?

The purpose of writing a review article is for knowledge updating concerning a topic.

A review article aims to highlight:

  • What has been done?
  • What has been found?
  • What issues have not been addressed?
  • What issues remain to be debated?
  • What new issues have been raised?
  • What will be the future direction of research?

Similarities and Differences to Original Research Articles

Differences Between Original Research Articles and Review Articles

Venn Diagram original research vs review article

  • An original research article aims to: Provides background information (Intro.) on prior research, Reasons for present study, Issues to be investigated by the present study, Written for experts. Authors describe: Research methods & materials, Data acquisition/analysis tools, Results, Discussion of results.
  • Both are Peer-reviewed for: Accuracy, Quality, Biases, Conflict of interest.
  • A review article aims to: Extensive survey of published research articles about a specific topic, Critical appraising of research findings, summarize up-to-date research findings, Identify critical issues to be addressed, Written for experts and general audiences, Be a source of original research.

Figure by Zhiyong Han, PhD

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Are All Review Articles Useful and Have Clear Goals?

How do we define a review article and what are some of its key attributes, conflict of interest statement, funding sources, author contributions, what is a review article and what are its purpose, attributes, and goal(s).

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Richard Balon; What Is a Review Article and What Are Its Purpose, Attributes, and Goal(s). Psychother Psychosom 2 May 2022; 91 (3): 152–155. https://doi.org/10.1159/000522385

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Review articles are an important staple of medical and other scientific literature that are liked and sought after by both readers and journals. The common perception is that they provide credible and reliable information about a specific area to readers and bring readership to journals. During the last decade or two we have seen a departure from the traditional narrative and integrated review articles to more specialized review articles such as systematic reviews with or without meta-analyses, umbrella reviews, viewpoints, and scoping reviews. It is not always clear what a review article and its different variations and permutations are, and also their goals, attributes, and utility.

Three recent articles [1-3] on the seemingly very similar topic of coexistence of anxiety and depression are a case in point of the lack of clarity of what a review article is and what its attributes and goals are The first one by Saha et al. [1] is a systematic review and meta-analysis which “found robust and consistent evidence of comorbidity between broadly defined mood and anxiety disorders. Clinicians should be vigilant for the prompt identification and treatment of this common type of comorbidity.” The second article by Cosci and Fava [2] (Editor and Associate Editor of this journal, where I am member of the Editorial Board) also states that depressive and anxiety disorders are frequently associated, and that depression may be a complication of anxiety and vice versa. They argue that the selection of treatment of coexisting anxiety and depression “should take into account the modalities of presentation and be filtered by clinical judgment.” The third review by Goodwin [3] states that: “Many antidepressant agents are also effective for symptoms of GAD [generalized anxiety disorder], including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)” and “Likewise, drug classes used to treat GAD are also effective in the treatment of depression with anxious symptoms (e.g., SSRIs, serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, and agomelatine).”

I do not want to discount what is presented in these articles, but the question that comes to my mind (and I hope to the mind of other readers) is: what did we learn from these three articles and who benefits from them? Most clinicians know that anxiety and depression frequently coexist in spite of the fact that our nomenclature system has ignored this until the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [4]. Thus, stating the obvious as a conclusion raises the question about the goals or aims of the article by Saha et al. [1]. Does any clinician need “an up-to-date list of studies that have examined comorbidity between broadly defined mood- and anxiety-related disorders and to meta-analyze the risk estimates according to key design features related to types of prevalence estimates for the two disorders” [sic]? The article by Goodwin [3] does not really provide anything new, or even a synthesis of previous data. It does not mention monoamine oxidase inhibitors as a treatment for coexisting anxiety and depression. This article also lists only one antidepressant – agomelatine - by its name among key words and in Key Summary Points, which considered together with the funding sources for the article may raise question about the article purpose. Cosci and Fava [2], in their “Innovation,” remind us of the complexity of clinical psychiatry and point out that: “Reviews generally base their conclusions on randomized controlled trials that refer to the average [italics mine] patient and may thus clash with the variety of clinical presentation.” They emphasize that diagnostic criteria “do not include patterns of symptoms, severity of illness, effects of comorbid conditions, timing of phenomena, rate of progression of illness, response to previous treatments that demarcate major prognostic and therapeutic differences among patients who otherwise seem to be deceptively similar since they share the same psychiatric diagnosis” (p. 309). They apply this discussion to coexisting anxiety and depression symptomatology. They call for a renaissance of psychopathology as the basic neglected method of clinical psychiatry and dimensional psychopathology that needs to be integrated into the diagnostic process. They also warn about the limits of existing guidelines that refer to a hypothetic or average patient, a strategy that is not always helpful in more or even less complicated clinical cases. This article is based on a new model of reviewing literature which integrates details of both biology and biography with the ultimate goal of “precision medicine” [5]. Yet their article [2] feels more as an “opinion piece” rather than solid review article.

Thus, in my opinion, out of three articles dealing with a similar topic, only one seems to be useful to clinicians [2]. Two of these articles [2, 3] would probably not fulfill usual journals’ criteria for a review article (see below), and one is not really clinically useful [1]. The utility of another one [3] is also doubtful. I am not saying that all review articles are not useful or do not fit what some envision as a review article. The goals of two of these articles [1, 3], though stated, are not very clear. These three examples [1-3] demonstrate the wide variety of what could be considered a review article, and that the utility of these types of articles can questionable. Thus, it seems that the review article and its attributes and goals require a closer look.

There is no one generally accepted definition of a review article. We all have certain ideas of how a review should look like and what it should accomplish. Some authors and organizations have formulated definitions of a review article. For instance, Ketcham and Crawford [6] note that in pragmatic terms the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) Web of Knowledge Science Citation Index categorizes a paper as a review if it has more than 100 references, or if it appears in a review journal or the review section of a research journal, or if the paper states in the abstract that it is a review paper. That does not seem like a definition of what most readers and editors expect from a review paper, as, based on this definition, a review article could be just a simple listing of the main findings of a number of papers. Maggio et al. [7] provide a definition that is probably closest to an acceptable definition of a review: “A synthetic review and summary of what is known and unknown regarding the topic of a scholarly body of work, including the current work’s place within the existing knowledge.” They also point out that a literature review should provide context, inform methodology, help maximize innovation, and help avoid duplications. Some outline attributes of a good review article, proposing that such a review should provide synthesis and critical evaluation of available knowledge in a clear and concise way, while using rigorous and consistent methodology. A good review should also be even-handed in presenting various views and interpretations with a focus on answering a clinical or research question(s) in a clear and useful fashion. A solid review article should be sharply focused on a well-defined issue(s).

Though there is not one widely accepted precise definition of a review article, especially in view of newer variations and types of review articles, there seems to be a general notion of what a review article is and what the attributes of a good review article should be. Nevertheless, that is not the only factor that should be considered and addressed in writing a good and useful review. Other factors to be considered in writing are the type of review article, its purpose, intended audience, journal (general, clinical, educational, research), and the expertise of the author(s), their experience, and conflict(s) of interest (COI). In considering the author(s’) COI, one needs to pay attention to all possibilities of COI, and not just the relationship with pharmaceutical companies, but also for instance the author(s’) intellectual “investment,” such as patents, grants, and theoretical orientation (e.g., cognitive behavioral vs. psychodynamic orientation). Some journals also provide their own definition of what a review article should be. Some journals are focused only on reviewing and synthetizing the existing literature (e.g., UpToDate) or on reviews providing continuing medical education.

Types of Review Article

As noted, there is a growing number of permutations of what is called a review article. These include historical review, narrative review, systematic review with or without meta-analysis, integrated review, qualitative research synthesis, and viewpoints, to more specialized ones such as scoping review, rapid review, umbrella reviews, mapping review, meta-synthesis, mixed-method review, overview of reviews, diagnostic accuracy review, review of complex interventions, and network meta-analysis. The discussion of all these types is beyond the scope of this editorial; however, this list illustrates the complexity and confusion regarding review articles.

In their Editorial, Conn and Coon Sells [8] provide a brief outline of some of the more commonly known and used reviews. Narrative reviews “describe primary studies without using an integrated, meta-analysis, or meta-synthesis approach to examine results of various studies; historical review s trace development of an area of science by assessing the chronological order of studies and focus on possible temporal patterns; meta-analysis is the synthesis of previous quantitative studies and involves statistical approaches to aggregate effect size across primary studies to determine patterns of differences across studies related to key concepts; and umbrella reviews summarize findings of previous reviews. Scoping reviews are characterized as identifying the extent and range of previous studies by creating a profile of existing studies but placing little emphasis on study findings or methodological features [9]. However, in my view it seems that scoping reviews are rather preliminary and short reviews, clarifying concepts and identifying gaps, and are limited in their time and scope. Systematic reviews may or may not use meta-analysis and are focused on systematically analyzing studies related to a certain topic/question with particular attention to the methodology of studies, and synthetizing results using strategies to reduce bias and random errors.

It is important to realize that all types of reviews have their strengths and weaknesses and do have a different place in the evidence hierarchy. For instance, some may feel that meta-analyses provide a great systematic and statistically sound summary of available information, yet others point out their weaknesses, and the fact that meta-analyses of the same subject could provide different results [9] and could be of little clinical use [ 10, 11 ]. Meta-analyses rely on published data, do not necessarily include non-statistically significant results, select non-uniform statistical approaches, may have weak inclusion standards, and frequently have an agenda-driven bias. Contrary to the frequent perception that meta-analyses and systematic reviews are relatively free of COI after the financial COI related to the pharmaceutical industry is addressed, these articles may also be biased by non-financial COI [ 12 ]. It is also important to realize that the magic of the term systematic review fades away when one considers the clinical usefulness of this type of review article. As noted [ 13 ], systematic reviews require increasingly complicated and cumbersome procedures, and expert clinicians and expert critical clinical advice are not always part of the systematic review enterprise.

Purpose, Goals, and Attributes of a Review Article

The overall purpose of a review article should be to provide a valuable, solid, informative, critical summary of a well-defined topic/area to the reader . I am emphasizing the reader, as some (e.g., Ketcham and Crawford [6]) discuss the value of the review article for the author and for journals, and the reader is left out. The issue of value, though not always easy, is also important. It is related to the question that we may frequently have: Does the world need yet another review article on this topic?

Related to the reader is the audience. The audience is related to the reader, but not the same. Is the targeted audience a clinician, researcher, educator, student, resident, patient, families, or others?

Similarly important is the topic, or the question to be “answered,” or explored. The topic should always be clearly stated in the abstract and at the beginning of the text, to help the reader (and before him/her the editor and reviewers) to decide whether this article is of his/her interest. The topic should be as simple and narrow as possible, remembering that “less is more.” Nevertheless, while the topic should be narrow, the final product should be complex (not complicated), nuanced, and consider various opinions, views, and interpretations. The complexity and nuances are especially important in clinically oriented articles, as current clinical thinking is frequently superficial and reductionistic (as demonstrated for instance by the article by Goodwin [3]).

The next attribute to consider is what type of review article should one select. That is somewhat intertwined with the type of audience and journal. A general audience would probably still most appreciate either the classic narrative (a better term would be critical narrative review ) or historical review, followed by a solid systematic review. Most of the other types of review articles (e.g., mapping review, scoping review) are for more specialized audiences and journals. However, narrative reviews should not be the present-day summary of conclusions of research studies and case-reports. They should provide a critical, practical view of highly intellectual content/writing. These articles, especially in clinical medicine, should be written by real experts in the field who could appropriately and skillfully mix so-called evidence-based literature data, their clinical significance and application, and real-life experience and examples.

Selection of the journal is another issue, important for both the reader and the author. Some journals publish only or mostly review articles, some journals have a dedicated section for reviews, and some journals publish review articles occasionally. The reputation of the journal (including the magical and not always useful Impact Factor) should be considered, though it is not the most important factor. Journals with a great reputation can publish mediocre and not very useful reviews, while some journals with not such a great reputation may publish a very useful review(s).

Finally, the issue of usefulness is significant, namely for the reader. It is difficult to gauge easily. The reader (and author and editor) should consider this, especially in clinically oriented review articles. It is connected to the type of reader and the topic and scope. The reader should ask: what did I learn, and how can I use it.

A few more words about review articles. The articles should always have some educational value, no matter what the topic and audience is. Second, the language used should be clear and concise. Many of us have been dismayed by the lack of clarity, coherence, lucidity, and simplicity of psychoanalytic articles in the past. However, concerning language attributes, the language of some neuroscience articles seems even worse than the language of those old articles to me.

Review articles are a significant, vital part of medical literature. They have various formats and different goals. Review articles should be meaningful, and not just for improvement of the impact factor or H-index. That would be “l’art pour l’art.” Review articles should provide state-of-the-art critical reviews of particular topics, and should target specific readers. They should provide high educational value to readers. Journal editors should pay more attention to what review articles are and whether they are of value to their readership, and the readership should carefully consider what is worth reading and useful for one’s education.

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

There were no funding sources for this work.

Richard Balon, MD, is the sole author of this editorial.

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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 3,017,159 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

review articles the

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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How to write a review article?

In the medical sciences, the importance of review articles is rising. When clinicians want to update their knowledge and generate guidelines about a topic, they frequently use reviews as a starting point. The value of a review is associated with what has been done, what has been found and how these findings are presented. Before asking ‘how,’ the question of ‘why’ is more important when starting to write a review. The main and fundamental purpose of writing a review is to create a readable synthesis of the best resources available in the literature for an important research question or a current area of research. Although the idea of writing a review is attractive, it is important to spend time identifying the important questions. Good review methods are critical because they provide an unbiased point of view for the reader regarding the current literature. There is a consensus that a review should be written in a systematic fashion, a notion that is usually followed. In a systematic review with a focused question, the research methods must be clearly described. A ‘methodological filter’ is the best method for identifying the best working style for a research question, and this method reduces the workload when surveying the literature. An essential part of the review process is differentiating good research from bad and leaning on the results of the better studies. The ideal way to synthesize studies is to perform a meta-analysis. In conclusion, when writing a review, it is best to clearly focus on fixed ideas, to use a procedural and critical approach to the literature and to express your findings in an attractive way.

The importance of review articles in health sciences is increasing day by day. Clinicians frequently benefit from review articles to update their knowledge in their field of specialization, and use these articles as a starting point for formulating guidelines. [ 1 , 2 ] The institutions which provide financial support for further investigations resort to these reviews to reveal the need for these researches. [ 3 ] As is the case with all other researches, the value of a review article is related to what is achieved, what is found, and the way of communicating this information. A few studies have evaluated the quality of review articles. Murlow evaluated 50 review articles published in 1985, and 1986, and revealed that none of them had complied with clear-cut scientific criteria. [ 4 ] In 1996 an international group that analyzed articles, demonstrated the aspects of review articles, and meta-analyses that had not complied with scientific criteria, and elaborated QUOROM (QUality Of Reporting Of Meta-analyses) statement which focused on meta-analyses of randomized controlled studies. [ 5 ] Later on this guideline was updated, and named as PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses). [ 6 ]

Review articles are divided into 2 categories as narrative, and systematic reviews. Narrative reviews are written in an easily readable format, and allow consideration of the subject matter within a large spectrum. However in a systematic review, a very detailed, and comprehensive literature surveying is performed on the selected topic. [ 7 , 8 ] Since it is a result of a more detailed literature surveying with relatively lesser involvement of author’s bias, systematic reviews are considered as gold standard articles. Systematic reviews can be diivded into qualitative, and quantitative reviews. In both of them detailed literature surveying is performed. However in quantitative reviews, study data are collected, and statistically evaluated (ie. meta-analysis). [ 8 ]

Before inquring for the method of preparation of a review article, it is more logical to investigate the motivation behind writing the review article in question. The fundamental rationale of writing a review article is to make a readable synthesis of the best literature sources on an important research inquiry or a topic. This simple definition of a review article contains the following key elements:

  • The question(s) to be dealt with
  • Methods used to find out, and select the best quality researches so as to respond to these questions.
  • To synthetize available, but quite different researches

For the specification of important questions to be answered, number of literature references to be consulted should be more or less determined. Discussions should be conducted with colleagues in the same area of interest, and time should be reserved for the solution of the problem(s). Though starting to write the review article promptly seems to be very alluring, the time you spend for the determination of important issues won’t be a waste of time. [ 9 ]

The PRISMA statement [ 6 ] elaborated to write a well-designed review articles contains a 27-item checklist ( Table 1 ). It will be reasonable to fulfill the requirements of these items during preparation of a review article or a meta-analysis. Thus preparation of a comprehensible article with a high-quality scientific content can be feasible.

PRISMA statement: A 27-item checklist

Contents and format

Important differences exist between systematic, and non-systematic reviews which especially arise from methodologies used in the description of the literature sources. A non-systematic review means use of articles collected for years with the recommendations of your colleagues, while systematic review is based on struggles to search for, and find the best possible researches which will respond to the questions predetermined at the start of the review.

Though a consensus has been reached about the systematic design of the review articles, studies revealed that most of them had not been written in a systematic format. McAlister et al. analyzed review articles in 6 medical journals, and disclosed that in less than one fourth of the review articles, methods of description, evaluation or synthesis of evidence had been provided, one third of them had focused on a clinical topic, and only half of them had provided quantitative data about the extend of the potential benefits. [ 10 ]

Use of proper methodologies in review articles is important in that readers assume an objective attitude towards updated information. We can confront two problems while we are using data from researches in order to answer certain questions. Firstly, we can be prejudiced during selection of research articles or these articles might be biased. To minimize this risk, methodologies used in our reviews should allow us to define, and use researches with minimal degree of bias. The second problem is that, most of the researches have been performed with small sample sizes. In statistical methods in meta-analyses, available researches are combined to increase the statistical power of the study. The problematic aspect of a non-systematic review is that our tendency to give biased responses to the questions, in other words we apt to select the studies with known or favourite results, rather than the best quality investigations among them.

As is the case with many research articles, general format of a systematic review on a single subject includes sections of Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion ( Table 2 ).

Structure of a systematic review

Preparation of the review article

Steps, and targets of constructing a good review article are listed in Table 3 . To write a good review article the items in Table 3 should be implemented step by step. [ 11 – 13 ]

Steps of a systematic review

The research question

It might be helpful to divide the research question into components. The most prevalently used format for questions related to the treatment is PICO (P - Patient, Problem or Population; I-Intervention; C-appropriate Comparisons, and O-Outcome measures) procedure. For example In female patients (P) with stress urinary incontinence, comparisons (C) between transobturator, and retropubic midurethral tension-free band surgery (I) as for patients’ satisfaction (O).

Finding Studies

In a systematic review on a focused question, methods of investigation used should be clearly specified.

Ideally, research methods, investigated databases, and key words should be described in the final report. Different databases are used dependent on the topic analyzed. In most of the clinical topics, Medline should be surveyed. However searching through Embase and CINAHL can be also appropriate.

While determining appropriate terms for surveying, PICO elements of the issue to be sought may guide the process. Since in general we are interested in more than one outcome, P, and I can be key elements. In this case we should think about synonyms of P, and I elements, and combine them with a conjunction AND.

One method which might alleviate the workload of surveying process is “methodological filter” which aims to find the best investigation method for each research question. A good example of this method can be found in PubMed interface of Medline. The Clinical Queries tool offers empirically developed filters for five different inquiries as guidelines for etiology, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis or clinical prediction.

Evaluation of the Quality of the Study

As an indispensable component of the review process is to discriminate good, and bad quality researches from each other, and the outcomes should be based on better qualified researches, as far as possible. To achieve this goal you should know the best possible evidence for each type of question The first component of the quality is its general planning/design of the study. General planning/design of a cohort study, a case series or normal study demonstrates variations.

A hierarchy of evidence for different research questions is presented in Table 4 . However this hierarchy is only a first step. After you find good quality research articles, you won’t need to read all the rest of other articles which saves you tons of time. [ 14 ]

Determination of levels of evidence based on the type of the research question

Formulating a Synthesis

Rarely all researches arrive at the same conclusion. In this case a solution should be found. However it is risky to make a decision based on the votes of absolute majority. Indeed, a well-performed large scale study, and a weakly designed one are weighed on the same scale. Therefore, ideally a meta-analysis should be performed to solve apparent differences. Ideally, first of all, one should be focused on the largest, and higher quality study, then other studies should be compared with this basic study.


In conclusion, during writing process of a review article, the procedures to be achieved can be indicated as follows: 1) Get rid of fixed ideas, and obsessions from your head, and view the subject from a large perspective. 2) Research articles in the literature should be approached with a methodological, and critical attitude and 3) finally data should be explained in an attractive way.

Find and Use Review Articles

Looking for an efficient way to get an overview of a body of research on your topic? A review article is a great place to start.

A review article provides an analysis of the state of research on a set of related research questions. Review articles often:

  • summarize key research findings;
  • reference must-read articles;
  • describe current areas of agreement as well as controversies and debates;
  • point out gaps in knowledge and unanswered questions;
  • suggest directions for future research.

Review articles contain must-read articles, unanswered questions, and controversies and debates.

You can use a review article to get a better understanding of the existing research on a topic, to identify research questions you would like to explore, and to find relevant sources. A review article’s bibliography often contains references to research articles that have made an impact on the field and advanced understanding of a research topic.

Reading a review article can save you time and give you a more well-rounded and coherent understanding of your topic.

Unlike typical research articles, review articles do not present any original primary research. For this reason, some assignments may not allow you to directly cite a review article in your paper. However, you can still use the article to get a general understanding of the field and to find important primary research articles.

Also note that for most senior theses in the sciences, the proper place to cite a review article is in the first few paragraphs of your introduction. By placing references to a review article in your early intro, you give your reader a place to go for more information if they are unfamiliar with your field.

Be sure to review the writing prompt and check with your instructor to be sure!

How do I Find Review Articles?

Finding a review article is relatively simple, though it varies slightly depending on what database you are using.

Web of Science

Start with a search in Web of Science .

Then, on the results page, look for the “Document Types” filter on the left side of the page.

Click the checkbox next to "Review" and then click "Refine" to see only the results classified as review articles.

Screenshot of filtering results for review articles in Web of Science.

After your initial search in PubMed , look for the "Articles Types" filter on the left side of the page.

Click "Customize..." and then click the checkbox next to review article related filters.

Be sure to uncheck other article types if you would like to limit your search to review articles.

Click "Show" to filter your search results.

Screenshot of filtering results for review articles in PubMed.

UCLA Library Journal Search

From the UCLA Library homepage , click the " Journals " tab to search for academic journals that focus on publishing review articles.

Search for your discipline or subject area, and Review (e.g., Sociology Review or Psychology Review ).

Be sure to change the drop-down menu to "Contains"

On the results page, browse the list of journals, and then click on a title to visit the journal's website.

Screenshot of searching for review articles on UCLA Library homepage.

Google Scholar and ArticlesPlus

In both Google Scholar and ArticlesPlus you can add review , "literature review" , "annual review" or "review article" to your search terms.

Be sure to check that your results really are review articles! See our tips below to make sure.

Searching for review articles in ArticlesPlus or Google Scholar.

How do I know if an article is a Review Article or a Primary Research Article?

Related resources.

  • Beginning Your Research Journey Accepted to the PRIMO database of Peer reviewed materials online 5-star editor review on merlot.org (Workshop)
  • Breaking Down Academic Articles 5-star editor review on merlot.org (Tutorial)
  • CREATES (Tutorial)
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About this tutorial

Caitlin Meyer , Shannon Roux


UCLA Undergraduate Research Center - Sciences, UCLA Undergraduate Research Center - Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, UCLA Undergraduate Writing Center, Doug Worsham


Learning Outcomes

  • Summarize a review article and its purpose
  • Find review articles in various databases
  • Identify signifcant filter terms for searching review articles
  • Distinguish a review article from a primary research article

Accessibility Information

  • WAVE tested - 0 errors - Oct 02, 2020

The Core Competencies for Research and Information Literacy at UCLA

  • Investigate diverse sources and perspectives
  • Gather and organize information and data
  • Evaluate and synthesize information and data

review articles the

  • Research Process

Writing a good review article

  • 3 minute read

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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  • Published: 02 October 2017

Review articles: purpose, process, and structure

  • Robert W. Palmatier 1 ,
  • Mark B. Houston 2 &
  • John Hulland 3  

Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science volume  46 ,  pages 1–5 ( 2018 ) Cite this article

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Working on a manuscript?

Many research disciplines feature high-impact journals that are dedicated outlets for review papers (or review–conceptual combinations) (e.g., Academy of Management Review , Psychology Bulletin , Medicinal Research Reviews ). The rationale for such outlets is the premise that research integration and synthesis provides an important, and possibly even a required, step in the scientific process. Review papers tend to include both quantitative (i.e., meta-analytic, systematic reviews) and narrative or more qualitative components; together, they provide platforms for new conceptual frameworks, reveal inconsistencies in the extant body of research, synthesize diverse results, and generally give other scholars a “state-of-the-art” snapshot of a domain, often written by topic experts (Bem 1995 ). Many premier marketing journals publish meta-analytic review papers too, though authors often must overcome reviewers’ concerns that their contributions are limited due to the absence of “new data.” Furthermore, relatively few non-meta-analysis review papers appear in marketing journals, probably due to researchers’ perceptions that such papers have limited publication opportunities or their beliefs that the field lacks a research tradition or “respect” for such papers. In many cases, an editor must provide strong support to help such review papers navigate the review process. Yet, once published, such papers tend to be widely cited, suggesting that members of the field find them useful (see Bettencourt and Houston 2001 ).

In this editorial, we seek to address three topics relevant to review papers. First, we outline a case for their importance to the scientific process, by describing the purpose of review papers . Second, we detail the review paper editorial initiative conducted over the past two years by the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science ( JAMS ), focused on increasing the prevalence of review papers. Third, we describe a process and structure for systematic ( i.e. , non-meta-analytic) review papers , referring to Grewal et al. ( 2018 ) insights into parallel meta-analytic (effects estimation) review papers. (For some strong recent examples of marketing-related meta-analyses, see Knoll and Matthes 2017 ; Verma et al. 2016 ).

Purpose of review papers

In their most general form, review papers “are critical evaluations of material that has already been published,” some that include quantitative effects estimation (i.e., meta-analyses) and some that do not (i.e., systematic reviews) (Bem 1995 , p. 172). They carefully identify and synthesize relevant literature to evaluate a specific research question, substantive domain, theoretical approach, or methodology and thereby provide readers with a state-of-the-art understanding of the research topic. Many of these benefits are highlighted in Hanssens’ ( 2018 ) paper titled “The Value of Empirical Generalizations in Marketing,” published in this same issue of JAMS.

The purpose of and contributions associated with review papers can vary depending on their specific type and research question, but in general, they aim to

Resolve definitional ambiguities and outline the scope of the topic.

Provide an integrated, synthesized overview of the current state of knowledge.

Identify inconsistencies in prior results and potential explanations (e.g., moderators, mediators, measures, approaches).

Evaluate existing methodological approaches and unique insights.

Develop conceptual frameworks to reconcile and extend past research.

Describe research insights, existing gaps, and future research directions.

Not every review paper can offer all of these benefits, but this list represents their key contributions. To provide a sufficient contribution, a review paper needs to achieve three key standards. First, the research domain needs to be well suited for a review paper, such that a sufficient body of past research exists to make the integration and synthesis valuable—especially if extant research reveals theoretical inconsistences or heterogeneity in its effects. Second, the review paper must be well executed, with an appropriate literature collection and analysis techniques, sufficient breadth and depth of literature coverage, and a compelling writing style. Third, the manuscript must offer significant new insights based on its systematic comparison of multiple studies, rather than simply a “book report” that describes past research. This third, most critical standard is often the most difficult, especially for authors who have not “lived” with the research domain for many years, because achieving it requires drawing some non-obvious connections and insights from multiple studies and their many different aspects (e.g., context, method, measures). Typically, after the “review” portion of the paper has been completed, the authors must spend many more months identifying the connections to uncover incremental insights, each of which takes time to detail and explicate.

The increasing methodological rigor and technical sophistication of many marketing studies also means that they often focus on smaller problems with fewer constructs. By synthesizing these piecemeal findings, reconciling conflicting evidence, and drawing a “big picture,” meta-analyses and systematic review papers become indispensable to our comprehensive understanding of a phenomenon, among both academic and practitioner communities. Thus, good review papers provide a solid platform for future research, in the reviewed domain but also in other areas, in that researchers can use a good review paper to learn about and extend key insights to new areas.

This domain extension, outside of the core area being reviewed, is one of the key benefits of review papers that often gets overlooked. Yet it also is becoming ever more important with the expanding breadth of marketing (e.g., econometric modeling, finance, strategic management, applied psychology, sociology) and the increasing velocity in the accumulation of marketing knowledge (e.g., digital marketing, social media, big data). Against this backdrop, systematic review papers and meta-analyses help academics and interested managers keep track of research findings that fall outside their main area of specialization.

JAMS’ review paper editorial initiative

With a strong belief in the importance of review papers, the editorial team of JAMS has purposely sought out leading scholars to provide substantive review papers, both meta-analysis and systematic, for publication in JAMS . Many of the scholars approached have voiced concerns about the risk of such endeavors, due to the lack of alternative outlets for these types of papers. Therefore, we have instituted a unique process, in which the authors develop a detailed outline of their paper, key tables and figures, and a description of their literature review process. On the basis of this outline, we grant assurances that the contribution hurdle will not be an issue for publication in JAMS , as long as the authors execute the proposed outline as written. Each paper still goes through the normal review process and must meet all publication quality standards, of course. In many cases, an Area Editor takes an active role to help ensure that each paper provides sufficient insights, as required for a high-quality review paper. This process gives the author team confidence to invest effort in the process. An analysis of the marketing journals in the Financial Times (FT 50) journal list for the past five years (2012–2016) shows that JAMS has become the most common outlet for these papers, publishing 31% of all review papers that appeared in the top six marketing journals.

As a next step in positioning JAMS as a receptive marketing outlet for review papers, we are conducting a Thought Leaders Conference on Generalizations in Marketing: Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses , with a corresponding special issue (see www.springer.com/jams ). We will continue our process of seeking out review papers as an editorial strategy in areas that could be advanced by the integration and synthesis of extant research. We expect that, ultimately, such efforts will become unnecessary, as authors initiate review papers on topics of their own choosing to submit them to JAMS . In the past two years, JAMS already has increased the number of papers it publishes annually, from just over 40 to around 60 papers per year; this growth has provided “space” for 8–10 review papers per year, reflecting our editorial target.

Consistent with JAMS ’ overall focus on managerially relevant and strategy-focused topics, all review papers should reflect this emphasis. For example, the domains, theories, and methods reviewed need to have some application to past or emerging managerial research. A good rule of thumb is that the substantive domain, theory, or method should attract the attention of readers of JAMS .

The efforts of multiple editors and Area Editors in turn have generated a body of review papers that can serve as useful examples of the different types and approaches that JAMS has published.

Domain-based review papers

Domain-based review papers review, synthetize, and extend a body of literature in the same substantive domain. For example, in “The Role of Privacy in Marketing” (Martin and Murphy 2017 ), the authors identify and define various privacy-related constructs that have appeared in recent literature. Then they examine the different theoretical perspectives brought to bear on privacy topics related to consumers and organizations, including ethical and legal perspectives. These foundations lead in to their systematic review of privacy-related articles over a clearly defined date range, from which they extract key insights from each study. This exercise of synthesizing diverse perspectives allows these authors to describe state-of-the-art knowledge regarding privacy in marketing and identify useful paths for research. Similarly, a new paper by Cleeren et al. ( 2017 ), “Marketing Research on Product-Harm Crises: A Review, Managerial Implications, and an Agenda for Future Research,” provides a rich systematic review, synthesizes extant research, and points the way forward for scholars who are interested in issues related to defective or dangerous market offerings.

Theory-based review papers

Theory-based review papers review, synthetize, and extend a body of literature that uses the same underlying theory. For example, Rindfleisch and Heide’s ( 1997 ) classic review of research in marketing using transaction cost economics has been cited more than 2200 times, with a significant impact on applications of the theory to the discipline in the past 20 years. A recent paper in JAMS with similar intent, which could serve as a helpful model, focuses on “Resource-Based Theory in Marketing” (Kozlenkova et al. 2014 ). The article dives deeply into a description of the theory and its underlying assumptions, then organizes a systematic review of relevant literature according to various perspectives through which the theory has been applied in marketing. The authors conclude by identifying topical domains in marketing that might benefit from additional applications of the theory (e.g., marketing exchange), as well as related theories that could be integrated meaningfully with insights from the resource-based theory.

Method-based review papers

Method-based review papers review, synthetize, and extend a body of literature that uses the same underlying method. For example, in “Event Study Methodology in the Marketing Literature: An Overview” (Sorescu et al. 2017 ), the authors identify published studies in marketing that use an event study methodology. After a brief review of the theoretical foundations of event studies, they describe in detail the key design considerations associated with this method. The article then provides a roadmap for conducting event studies and compares this approach with a stock market returns analysis. The authors finish with a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the event study method, which in turn suggests three main areas for further research. Similarly, “Discriminant Validity Testing in Marketing: An Analysis, Causes for Concern, and Proposed Remedies” (Voorhies et al. 2016 ) systematically reviews existing approaches for assessing discriminant validity in marketing contexts, then uses Monte Carlo simulation to determine which tests are most effective.

Our long-term editorial strategy is to make sure JAMS becomes and remains a well-recognized outlet for both meta-analysis and systematic managerial review papers in marketing. Ideally, review papers would come to represent 10%–20% of the papers published by the journal.

Process and structure for review papers

In this section, we review the process and typical structure of a systematic review paper, which lacks any long or established tradition in marketing research. The article by Grewal et al. ( 2018 ) provides a summary of effects-focused review papers (i.e., meta-analyses), so we do not discuss them in detail here.

Systematic literature review process

Some review papers submitted to journals take a “narrative” approach. They discuss current knowledge about a research domain, yet they often are flawed, in that they lack criteria for article inclusion (or, more accurately, article exclusion), fail to discuss the methodology used to evaluate included articles, and avoid critical assessment of the field (Barczak 2017 ). Such reviews tend to be purely descriptive, with little lasting impact.

In contrast, a systematic literature review aims to “comprehensively locate and synthesize research that bears on a particular question, using organized, transparent, and replicable procedures at each step in the process” (Littell et al. 2008 , p. 1). Littell et al. describe six key steps in the systematic review process. The extent to which each step is emphasized varies by paper, but all are important components of the review.

Topic formulation . The author sets out clear objectives for the review and articulates the specific research questions or hypotheses that will be investigated.

Study design . The author specifies relevant problems, populations, constructs, and settings of interest. The aim is to define explicit criteria that can be used to assess whether any particular study should be included in or excluded from the review. Furthermore, it is important to develop a protocol in advance that describes the procedures and methods to be used to evaluate published work.

Sampling . The aim in this third step is to identify all potentially relevant studies, including both published and unpublished research. To this end, the author must first define the sampling unit to be used in the review (e.g., individual, strategic business unit) and then develop an appropriate sampling plan.

Data collection . By retrieving the potentially relevant studies identified in the third step, the author can determine whether each study meets the eligibility requirements set out in the second step. For studies deemed acceptable, the data are extracted from each study and entered into standardized templates. These templates should be based on the protocols established in step 2.

Data analysis . The degree and nature of the analyses used to describe and examine the collected data vary widely by review. Purely descriptive analysis is useful as a starting point but rarely is sufficient on its own. The examination of trends, clusters of ideas, and multivariate relationships among constructs helps flesh out a deeper understanding of the domain. For example, both Hult ( 2015 ) and Huber et al. ( 2014 ) use bibliometric approaches (e.g., examine citation data using multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis techniques) to identify emerging versus declining themes in the broad field of marketing.

Reporting . Three key aspects of this final step are common across systematic reviews. First, the results from the fifth step need to be presented, clearly and compellingly, using narratives, tables, and figures. Second, core results that emerge from the review must be interpreted and discussed by the author. These revelatory insights should reflect a deeper understanding of the topic being investigated, not simply a regurgitation of well-established knowledge. Third, the author needs to describe the implications of these unique insights for both future research and managerial practice.

A new paper by Watson et al. ( 2017 ), “Harnessing Difference: A Capability-Based Framework for Stakeholder Engagement in Environmental Innovation,” provides a good example of a systematic review, starting with a cohesive conceptual framework that helps establish the boundaries of the review while also identifying core constructs and their relationships. The article then explicitly describes the procedures used to search for potentially relevant papers and clearly sets out criteria for study inclusion or exclusion. Next, a detailed discussion of core elements in the framework weaves published research findings into the exposition. The paper ends with a presentation of key implications and suggestions for the next steps. Similarly, “Marketing Survey Research Best Practices: Evidence and Recommendations from a Review of JAMS Articles” (Hulland et al. 2017 ) systematically reviews published marketing studies that use survey techniques, describes recent trends, and suggests best practices. In their review, Hulland et al. examine the entire population of survey papers published in JAMS over a ten-year span, relying on an extensive standardized data template to facilitate their subsequent data analysis.

Structure of systematic review papers

There is no cookie-cutter recipe for the exact structure of a useful systematic review paper; the final structure depends on the authors’ insights and intended points of emphasis. However, several key components are likely integral to a paper’s ability to contribute.

Depth and rigor

Systematic review papers must avoid falling in to two potential “ditches.” The first ditch threatens when the paper fails to demonstrate that a systematic approach was used for selecting articles for inclusion and capturing their insights. If a reader gets the impression that the author has cherry-picked only articles that fit some preset notion or failed to be thorough enough, without including articles that make significant contributions to the field, the paper will be consigned to the proverbial side of the road when it comes to the discipline’s attention.

Authors that fall into the other ditch present a thorough, complete overview that offers only a mind-numbing recitation, without evident organization, synthesis, or critical evaluation. Although comprehensive, such a paper is more of an index than a useful review. The reviewed articles must be grouped in a meaningful way to guide the reader toward a better understanding of the focal phenomenon and provide a foundation for insights about future research directions. Some scholars organize research by scholarly perspectives (e.g., the psychology of privacy, the economics of privacy; Martin and Murphy 2017 ); others classify the chosen articles by objective research aspects (e.g., empirical setting, research design, conceptual frameworks; Cleeren et al. 2017 ). The method of organization chosen must allow the author to capture the complexity of the underlying phenomenon (e.g., including temporal or evolutionary aspects, if relevant).


Processes for the identification and inclusion of research articles should be described in sufficient detail, such that an interested reader could replicate the procedure. The procedures used to analyze chosen articles and extract their empirical findings and/or key takeaways should be described with similar specificity and detail.

We already have noted the potential usefulness of well-done review papers. Some scholars always are new to the field or domain in question, so review papers also need to help them gain foundational knowledge. Key constructs, definitions, assumptions, and theories should be laid out clearly (for which purpose summary tables are extremely helpful). An integrated conceptual model can be useful to organize cited works. Most scholars integrate the knowledge they gain from reading the review paper into their plans for future research, so it is also critical that review papers clearly lay out implications (and specific directions) for research. Ideally, readers will come away from a review article filled with enthusiasm about ways they might contribute to the ongoing development of the field.

Helpful format

Because such a large body of research is being synthesized in most review papers, simply reading through the list of included studies can be exhausting for readers. We cannot overstate the importance of tables and figures in review papers, used in conjunction with meaningful headings and subheadings. Vast literature review tables often are essential, but they must be organized in a way that makes their insights digestible to the reader; in some cases, a sequence of more focused tables may be better than a single, comprehensive table.

In summary, articles that review extant research in a domain (topic, theory, or method) can be incredibly useful to the scientific progress of our field. Whether integrating the insights from extant research through a meta-analysis or synthesizing them through a systematic assessment, the promised benefits are similar. Both formats provide readers with a useful overview of knowledge about the focal phenomenon, as well as insights on key dilemmas and conflicting findings that suggest future research directions. Thus, the editorial team at JAMS encourages scholars to continue to invest the time and effort to construct thoughtful review papers.

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Cleeren, K., Dekimpe, M. G., & van Heerde, H. J. (2017). Marketing research on product-harm crises: a review, managerial implications. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 45 (5), 593–615.

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Palmatier, R.W., Houston, M.B. & Hulland, J. Review articles: purpose, process, and structure. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 46 , 1–5 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-017-0563-4

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Reviewing review articles

A review article is written to summarize the current state of understanding on a topic, and peer reviewing these types of articles requires a slightly different set of criteria compared with empirical articles. Unless it is a systematic review/meta-analysis methods are not important or reported. The quality of a review article can be judged on aspects such as timeliness, the breadth and accuracy of the discussion, and if it indicates the best avenues for future research. The review article should present an unbiased summary of the current understanding of the topic, and therefore the peer reviewer must assess the selection of studies that are cited by the paper. As review article contains a large amount of detailed information, its structure and flow are also important.

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How to Write an Article Review: Practical Tips and Examples

04 Sep 2021

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❓What Is an Article Review?

📑Different Forms of a Review

✒️Formatting of Article Review

✍️How To Write An Article Review

📃An Article Review Outline

✅Tips for Writing an Article Review

📝An Example of an Article Review

An article review is a real must for college and university teachers and one of the most frequently assigned papers. The reason behind this is that a student has to develop a believable critique and not just showcase writing skills. This task isn't easy because you need to conduct in-depth research and provide a careful analysis of the article. Don't have an idea of how to write an article review the right way? Follow the most effective tips for composing a worthy review to impress the reader.

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What Is an Article Review?

Before you get started, learn what an article review is. It can be defined as a work that combines elements of summary and critical analysis. If you are writing an article review, you should take a close look at another author's work. Many experts regularly practice evaluating the work of others. The purpose of this is to improve writing skills.

Create a summary of your text

This kind of work belongs to professional pieces of writing because the process of crafting this paper requires reviewing, summarizing, and understanding the topic. Only experts are able to compose really good reviews containing a logical evaluation of a paper as well as a critique.

Your task is not to provide new information. You should process what you have in a certain publication.

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Different Forms of Article Review

An article review is an important academic exercise as it allows students to critically evaluate and analyze different types of scholarly articles. There are various forms of article reviews , each form is unique in its approach. However, after the article identification, the purpose remains the same: a critical evaluation of the content, style, and structure.

Let's discuss some forms to assist you with the writing process.

  • Research Article Review This is the article review type where as a student, you should evaluate the findings, methodology, as well as conclusion presented in the article. The purpose is to provide an in-depth analysis of the author's research methods, data, and findings.
  • Literature Review As the name suggests, this type of review collects, evaluates, and assesses the work done in different studies as well as scholarly articles that are related to a topic.
  • Opinion Article The purpose of reviewing an opinion article is to review opinions expressed by the author. The aim is to consider the validity and the logic behind the argument. This review helps determine the effectiveness of the writer's article, whether it's able to communicate the main argument from a broader perspective or not.
  • Case Study This is a type of review where you assess case studies. The writing focuses on analyzing specific events, people, or situations. The purpose of reviewing a case study is to determine the author's ability to analyze a case and identify the main issues while providing relevant recommendations.
  • Systematic Review This is a very technical form of review, it analyses the published research on a particular topic in the most extensive and comprehensive form. The purpose of this review is to determine the quality of the research and identify any gaps in knowledge to recommend for future research.

When it comes to writing an article review, seeking assistance from a literature review writing service can be very helpful. These services can offer professional support to ensure that your paper meets all the necessary standards and requirements. They can help you with structuring your paper correctly and guide you on the best approach to take with the content, so that it is unique and stands out from others. Moreover, they can provide expert guidance on how to effectively integrate the literature review into your paper and ensure that the arguments you present are supported by solid evidence.

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Different types of formatting styles are used for article review writing. It mainly depends on the guidelines that are provided by the instructor, sometimes, professors even provide an article review template that needs to be followed.

Here are some common types of formatting styles that you should be aware of when you start writing an article review:

  • APA (American Psychological Association) - An APA format article review is commonly used for social sciences. It has guidelines for formatting the title, abstract, body paragraphs, and references. For example, the title of an article in APA format is in sentence case, whereas the publication title is in title case.
  • MLA (Modern Language Association): This is a formatting style often used in humanities, such as language studies and literature. There are specific guidelines for the formatting of the title page, header, footer, and citation style.
  • Chicago Manual of Style: This is one of the most commonly used formatting styles. It is often used for subjects in humanities and social sciences, but also commonly found in a newspaper title. This includes guidelines for formatting the title page, end notes, footnotes, publication title, article citation, and bibliography.
  • Harvard Style: Harvard style is commonly used for social sciences and provides specific guidelines for formatting different sections of the pages, including publication title, summary page, website publisher, and more.

To ensure that your article review paper is properly formatted and meets the requirements, it is crucial to adhere to the specific guidelines for the formatting style you are using. This helps you write a good article review.

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How To Write An Article Review

There are several steps that must be followed when you are starting to review articles. You need to follow these to make sure that your thoughts are organized properly. In this way, you can present your ideas in a more concise and clear manner. Here are some tips on how to start an article review and how to cater to each writing stage.

  • Read the Article Closely: Even before you start to write an article review, it's important to make sure that you have read the specific article thoroughly. Write down the central points and all the supporting ideas. It's important also to note any questions or comments that you have about the content.
  • Identify the Thesis: Make sure that you understand the author's main points, and identify the main thesis of the article. This will help you focus on your review and ensure that you are addressing all of the key points.
  • Formulate an Introduction: The piece should start with an introduction that has all the necessary background information, possibly in the first paragraph or in the first few paragraphs. This can include a brief summary of the important points or an explanation of the importance.
  • Summarize the Article : Summarize the main points when you review the article, and make sure that you include all supporting elements of the author's thesis.
  • Start with Personal Critique : Now is the time to include a personal opinion on the research article or the journal article review. Start with evaluating all the strengths and weaknesses of the reviewed article. Discuss all of the flaws that you found in the author's evidence and reasoning. Also, point out whether the conclusion provided by the author was well presented or not.
  • Add Personal Perspective: Offer your perspective on the original article, do you agree or disagree with the ideas that the article supports or not. Your critical review, in your own words, is an essential part of a good review. Make sure you address all unanswered questions in your review.
  • Conclude the Article Review : In this section of the writing process, you need to be very careful and wrap up the whole discussion in a coherent manner. This is should summarize all the main points and offer an overall assessment.

Make sure to stay impartial and provide proof to back up your assessment. By adhering to these guidelines, you can create a reflective and well-structured article review.

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Article Review Outline

Here is a basic, detailed outline for an article review you should be aware of as a pre-writing process if you are wondering how to write an article review.

  • Introduction Introduce the article that you are reviewing (author name, publication date, title, etc.) Now provide an overview of the article's main topic
  • Summary section Summarize the key points in the article as well as any arguments Identify the findings and conclusion
  • Critical Review Assess and evaluate the positive aspects and the drawbacks Discuss if the authors arguments were verified by the evidence of the article Identify if the text provides substantial information for any future paper or further research Assess any gaps in the arguments
  • Conclusion Restate the thesis statement Provide a summary for all sections Write any recommendations and thoughts that you have on the article
  • References Never forget to add and cite any references that you used in your article

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10 Tips for Writing an Article Review

Have you ever written such an assignment? If not, study the helpful tips for composing a paper. If you follow the recommendations provided here, the process of writing a summary of the article won’t be so time-consuming, and you will be able to write an article in the most effective manner.

The guidelines below will help to make the process of preparing a paper much more productive. Let's get started!

Check what kind of information your work should contain. After answering the key question “What is an article review?” you should learn how to structure it the right way. To succeed, you need to know what your work should be based on. An analysis with insightful observations is a must for your piece of writing.

Identify the central idea: In your first reading, focus on the overall impression. Gather ideas about what the writer wants to tell, and consider whether he or she managed to achieve it.

Look up unfamiliar terms. Don't know what certain words and expressions mean? Highlight them, and don't forget to check what they mean with a reliable source of information.

Highlight the most important ideas. If you are reading it a second time, use a highlighter to highlight the points that are most important to understanding the passage.

Write an outline. A well-written outline will make your life a lot easier. All your thoughts will be grouped. Detailed planning helps not to miss anything important. Think about the questions you should answer when writing.

Brainstorm headline ideas. When choosing a project, remember: it should reflect the main idea. Make it bold and concise.

Check an article review format example. You should check that you know how to cite an article properly. Note that citation rules are different in APA and MLA formats. Ask your teacher which one to prioritize.

Write a good introduction. Use only one short paragraph to state the central idea of ​​the work. Emphasize the author's key concepts and arguments. Add the thesis at the end of the Introduction.

Write in a formal style. Use the third person, remembering that this assignment should be written in a formal academic writing style.

Wrap up, offer your critique, and close. Give your opinion on whether the author achieved his goals. Mention the shortcomings of the job, if any, and highlight its strengths.

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An Article Review Example

If you have a task to prepare an analysis of a certain piece of literature, have a look at the article review sample. There is an article review example for you to have a clear picture of what it must look like.

Journal Article on Ayn Rand's Works Review Example

“The purpose of the article is to consider the features of the poetics of Ayn Rand's novels "Atlas Shrugged," "We the living," and "The Fountainhead." In the analysis of the novels, the structural-semantic and the method of comparative analysis were used.

With the help of these methods, genre features of the novels were revealed, and a single conflict and a cyclic hero were identified.

In-depth reading allows us to more fully reveal the worldview of the author reflected in the novels. It becomes easier to understand the essence of the author's ideas about the connection between being and consciousness, embodied in cyclic ideas and images of plot twists and heroes. The author did a good job highlighting the strong points of the works and mentioning the reasons for the obvious success of Ayn Rand.“

You can also search for other relevant article review examples before you start.

In conclusion, article reviews play an important role in evaluating and analyzing different scholarly articles. Writing a review requires critical thinking skills and a deep understanding of the article's content, style, and structure. It is crucial to identify the type of article review and follow the specific guidelines for formatting style provided by the instructor or professor.

The process of writing an article review requires several steps, such as reading the article attentively, identifying the thesis, and formulating an introduction. By following the tips and examples provided in this article, students can write a worthy review that demonstrates their ability to evaluate and critique another writer's work.

Learning how to write an article review is a critical skill for students and professionals alike. Before diving into the nitty-gritty of reviewing an article, it's important to understand what an article review is and the elements it should include. An article review is an assessment of a piece of writing that summarizes and evaluates a work. To complete a quality article review, the author should consider the text's purpose and content, its organization, the author's style, and how the article fits into a larger conversation. But if you don't have the time to do all of this work, you can always purchase a literature review from Papers Owl .

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How to Write an Article Review: Tips and Examples

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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.

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.

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Steps for Writing an Article Review

Here is a guide with critique paper format from our research paper writing service 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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Review: In ‘Beyond Utopia,’ the weight of North Korean oppression on its citizenry is undeniable

A hand reaches out to another in the dark.

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The world’s bad-actor states are well-known from the worrying news they regularly produce. But only North Korea ’s brand of isolated, propaganda-fueled tyranny seems to inspire reportage steeped in the weird — thanks in part to the dangerous whims of its current leader and the coddling by America’s former president.

Enter documentarian Madeleine Gavin’s urgent dispatch “Beyond Utopia,” a reminder that people’s lives there are continuously at risk. It puts us right in the heart of a perilous attempt in 2019 by a North Korean family of five, and separately a teenage boy with a mother in Seoul, to flee Kim Jong Un’s oppressive rule. Guiding their efforts is a dedicated pastor in South Korea with extensive contacts in the Underground Railroad for defectors, plus his own scars from years of this hazardous work.

Between the in-the-moment tension and glimpses at the reality inside a hidden regime (footage was covertly shot with smuggled-in cameras), the film makes for a blistering, wrenching counterpoint to any narrative of North Korea that foregrounds the bizarre at the expense of the citizens suffering. Documentaries with life-or-death stakes, not to mention wider resonance in our increasingly unsettled geopolitical world, don’t get much more nerve-racking or heartbreaking than “Beyond Utopia.” At the same time, the film is inspiring about the lengths people will go to for a better life.

The Rohs — a husband and wife, their two small children, and an elderly grandmother — had been wandering for five days on Changbai Mountain just across the vigorously patrolled Yalu River that separates China and North Korea, when a farmer’s smartphone video of the desperate-looking family made its way to pastor Seungeun Kim in Seoul. The filmmakers had been gaining Kim’s trust for a separate North Korea-themed project when he gave them permission to film as he commandeered the Rohs’ journey, and also strived to help a woman named Soyeon Lee get her teenage son out.

A man in an office attempts to make travel arrangements.

Crossing that river border, we learn, is only the start of the danger: the pathway requires traversing the length of China, crossing Vietnam and Laos, before real safety is achieved by entering Thailand. At any point before then, authorities could catch the Rohs and deport them back to a North Korea brutally vengeful toward defectors. That picture of the dictatorship’s treatment of the disloyal, as detailed by interviews with experts including U.S. official Sue Mi Terry, author Barbara Demick and defector-activist Hyeonseo Lee, is more chilling than you can imagine.

Following the Rohs’ progress (which includes a separate harrowing nighttime river crossing on the Mekong in a crowded, unstable boat) and anxious mother Soyeon’s entirely different struggle tracking her son matches the rough emotional intensity of a Barbara Kopple immersion doc crossed with a Paul Greengrass thriller. Its power is further burnished by Gavin’s portrait of the determined, devout rescuer at its center, Kim, a genuine hero who can somehow compartmentalize his own life’s joys, sorrows and threats to be a steady beacon for the North Koreans who contact him. In this pastor’s poise and practicality, the sturdy righteousness of his calling makes for a fascinating contrast with the impenetrable martyrdom shown in another grimly compelling work of nonfiction from this season, “The Mission.” (Clearly not all faith-fueled devotions are equal in their worthiness or risk).

But plan your double-feature wisely, doc lovers — when it comes to your tolerance for throat-tightening material, your mileage may vary. Know that “Beyond Utopia” is ultimately more than the cruel sum of its participants’ ills and the turbulence they’re willing to endure. Its engine is one of hope and belief, against all odds, that the impasse between mass indoctrination and an open society can be bridged, and that the desires and fears of everyday people who suffer the actions of a powerful few shouldn’t be ignored.

'Beyond Utopia'

In Korean and English, with English subtitles Rating: PG-13, for thematic material, violent content and disturbing images Running time: 1 hour, 55 minutes Playing: Now at Lumiere Cinema, Laemmle NoHo 7, Laemmle Town Center 5, Laemmle Monica

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In 2022, China released its “Global Civilization Initiative,” a document enumerating China’s commitment to fostering diversity, equality, and cultural exchange. The editors analyze how the U.S. foreign policy community and media jumped to attack the initiative in the interest of defending U.S. imperial strategy around the globe. |  more…

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At the center of the United States’s New Cold War MR editors write, is the World Trade Organization, “the crown jewel of the liberal international order.” After China’s admittance into the WTO did not lead to the collapse of socialism in that country, presidents from Obama to Biden have gutted the institution and escalated the tariff war, all in the name of protecting the so-called rules-based international order. |  more…

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Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz reviews Bloodbath Nation , a poignant exploration of the painful, studiously ignored truths about gun culture in the U.S. To grapple with the epidemic of gun violence, she writes, requires confronting deeper truths about white supremacy, settler-colonialism, and the U.S. history of enslavement. |  more…

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Supreme Court to review Trump-era ban on gun ‘bump stocks’

A bump stock device is installed on a AK-47 semi-automatic rifle, at a gun store in Salt Lake City

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday stepped into a new gun rights battle by agreeing to weigh whether a Trump-era ban on so-called bump stocks , which allow semi-automatic rifles to fire more quickly, is lawful.

The justices were asked by both the Biden administration and gun rights activists to take up the issue, with lower courts reaching differing conclusions on it.

The case concerns Texas-based gun owner and licensed dealer Michael Cargill, who owned two bump stocks before the ban went into effect and later surrendered them to the government. He sued, claiming that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives lacked the legal authority to implement the prohibition.

The conservative-majority high court issued  a major ruling in June 2022 that expanded gun rights , although the legal issues arising from the bump stocks ban are different.

Bump stocks are accessories for semi-automatic rifles, such as the popular AR-15-style weapons. They use the recoil energy of a trigger pull to enable the user to fire up to hundreds of rounds a minute.

President Donald Trump’s administration imposed the ban after  the mass shooting  in Las Vegas in 2017, when Stephen Paddock used bump stocks to open fire on a country music festival, initially killing 58 people. Paddock died by suicide as he was about to be apprehended.

The ban was a rare example of a Republican administration taking action on gun control.

"Guns equipped with bump stocks can cause massive devastation. These are devices that fire like machine guns and kill like machine guns, so it’s a no-brainer that they should be regulated like machine guns,” said Nick Suplina, senior vice president for law and policy at Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group.

The policy went into effect in 2019  after the Supreme Court declined to block it . Since then, the already conservative court has tilted further to the right, with conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a Trump appointee, replacing liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in 2020.

The court, with its new 6-3 conservative majority, ruled for the first time in the June 2022 gun rights decision that the right to bear arms under the Constitution’s Second Amendment protects an individual right to carry a handgun outside the home. The ruling was the most significant expansion of gun rights since the Supreme Court held in 2008 that there was an individual right to bear arms in self-defense at home.  

Next week, the justices will hear a follow-up case testing the scope of its 2022 ruling on whether people accused of domestic violence have a right to own firearms.

The bump stocks challenge does not implicate the scope of the right to bear arms. The challengers argue that the government does not have authority to ban bump stocks under the National Firearms Act, a law enacted in 1934 to regulate machine guns.

The 1968 Gun Control Act expanded the definition of "machine gun" to include accessories “for use in converting a weapon” into a machine gun, and the ATF concluded that bump stocks meet that definition.

Those challenging the ban said the legal definition of machine gun has been distorted beyond recognition and argue that courts should not defer to the federal agency’s interpretation.

Richard Samp, a lawyer with the New Civil Liberties Alliance, a legal group representing Cargill, said, “ATF for many years recognized that bump-stock-equipped semi-automatic weapons are not ‘machineguns.’ Its sudden reversal can only be explained as a decision to allow political expediency to trump the rule of law."

The Supreme Court in October 2022 turned away two earlier cases brought by gun rights advocates challenging the bump stocks ban.

Now the legal landscape is different, with both the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the ban was unlawful.

The Biden administration appealed in both cases, while gun rights advocates asked the justices to hear their appeal from a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that upheld the ban.

The court on Friday also took up a second gun rights -related case on the National Rifle Association’s claim that a New York state official’s alleged role in urging companies to end ties with the gun rights group constituted unlawful coercion.

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Lawrence Hurley covers the Supreme Court for NBC News.

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Haas file 'right of review' request for U.S. race

Brazilian Grand Prix

Formula One F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix - Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil - November 4, 2023 Haas' Nico Hulkenberg in action during the sprint shoot-out REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli Acquire Licensing Rights

SAO PAULO, Nov 4 (Reuters) - The Haas Formula One team have filed a 'right of review' request related to last month's U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, a team representative said on Saturday.

No reason was given but media reports indicated it concerned track limit infringements at Turn Six of the Circuit of the Americas.

Haas's Nico Hulkenberg was classified 11th in the Oct. 22 race in Texas, while Danish team mate Kevin Magnussen ended up 14th.

The FIA's sporting code allows a right of review when "a significant and relevant new element is discovered which was unavailable to the parties seeking the review at the time of the decision concerned".

The governing body will now reconvene the U.S. Grand Prix stewards for them to decide whether to grant Haas the review.

Stewards at the U.S. race analysed alleged Turn Six track limit infringements by Williams driver Alexander Albon but decided not to give him a penalty because of insufficient video evidence.

Mercedes's Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc were disqualified from second and sixth respectively in Austin after their cars failed technical checks.

The disqualifications meant Albon and team mate Logan Sargeant bagged unexpected points with ninth and 10th places respectively.

Haas slipped to last in the constructors' standings at the following race in Mexico.

Reporting by Gabriel Araujo; editing by Clare Fallon

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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    SAO PAULO, Nov 4 (Reuters) - The Haas Formula One team have filed a 'right of review' request related to last month's U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, a team representative said on Saturday.