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4/6/2013

Writing a Review Article

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar, M.E., Ph.D.


Associate Professor
Environmental, Water Resources & Transportation Engg. Division
School of Mechanical and Building Sciences
VIT University
Vellore - 632014, Tamilnadu
Email: shanthakumar.s@vit.ac.in
Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

Review Article
A critical, constructive analysis of the literature in a specific
field through summary, classification, analysis, comparison.
A scientific text relying on previously published literature or
data.
New data from the authors experiments are not presented
(with exceptions: some reviews contain new data).

Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

4/6/2013

Function of a review article


to organize literature
to
t evaluate
l t literature
lit t
to identify patterns and trends in the literature
to synthesize literature
to identify research gaps and recommend new research
areas

Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

Audience of review articles


experts in specific research areas
students or novice researchers
decision-makers

Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

4/6/2013

Types of review articles


Types by methodological approach
Narrative review
Selected studies are compared
p
and summarized on the basis
of the authors experience, existing theories and models.
Results are based on a qualitative rather than a quantitative
level.
Systematic review
Findings from various individual studies are analyzed
statistically
t ti ti ll by
b strict
t i t procedures.
d
Meta-Analyses are used to pool the results of individual
studies.
Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

Types by objective
Status quo review
Presentation of the most current research for a given topic or
field of research.
History review
Development of a field of research over time.
Issue review
Investigation of an issue (i.e. a point of disagreement or a
question) in a specific field of research.

Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

4/6/2013

Types by mandate
Invited reviews
- experienced researchers are invited
Unsolicited submissions
- researchers develop an idea for a review and
submit it to journal editors

Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

Length of a review article


Review articles vary considerably in length.
Narrative reviews may range between 8,000 and 40,000
words.
Systematic reviews are usually shorter with less than
10,000 words.

Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

4/6/2013

Elements of a review article


Title
Function -

Helping readers to decide whether they should


read the text or not.
not
Includes terms for indexing (e.g. in data bases).

Elements -

The title must be informative


The title has to include important terms.
It has to indicate that the text is a review article.
The title must be short
K
Keep
th title
the
titl concise.
i

Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

Abstract
Function
Informs about the main objectives and result of the review
article
ti l (informative
(i f
ti
abstract)
b t
t) or indicates
i di t
th text
the
t t structure
t t
(descriptive abstract).
Descriptive abstract - for narrative reviews
Elements
Description of subjects covered without specific details.
A descriptive abstract is like a table of contents in paragraph
form.
Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

4/6/2013

Introduction
Function
Provides information about the context, indicates the
motivation for the review, defines the focus, the research
question and explains the text structure.
structure
Elements
1) Subject background - The general topic, issue, or area of
concern is given to illustrate the context.
2) Problem - Trends, new perspectives, gaps, conflicts, or a
single problem is indicated.
3) Motivation/justification - The authors reason for reviewing
the literature, the approach and the organisation of the text are
described.

Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

Body: Main Part of the Review Article


Paragraph structure
Cover one idea, aspect or topic per paragraph.
Avoid referring to only one study per paragraph; consider
several studies per paragraph instead.
Links
Frequently link the discussed research findings to the
research question stated in the introduction. These links
create the a thread of coherence in your review article.
Link the studies to one another. Compare and discuss these
relationships.

Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

4/6/2013

Conclusions
Function
Answer the research question set in the introduction.
introduction
Elements
implications of the findings
interpretations by the authors
identification of unresolved questions

Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

References
Function
Shows interested readers how to find the literature
mentioned in the text.
Acknowledges
A k
l d
th work
the
k off other
th scientists.
i ti t
Compulsory to avoid charges of plagiarism
Elements
Include every reference cited in the text. Do not include
additional references.
Avoid internet sources. If internet sources must be used, find
the original source for the internet reference, check it has
been correctly cited and cite it directly.
Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

4/6/2013

Thinking a lot about your thoughts..


Why are these articles interesting to you?
Why
Wh did you choose
h
t write
to
it about
b t them?
th ?
Do they present a new procedure?
Is there a significant gap in the literature?
Do these articles contribute important new knowledge to the
field?

Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

Argument
Another concept you must understand before you begin writing
is that anytime you are writing, you are making an argument.
Everything is an argument.
argument If you learn the components of an
argument, your article will be successful.
A commonly used argument is the one, which contains the
following components:
Claim: The claim is the statement you wish to make.
Reason: The logic behind the claim.
Warrant: The warrant answers the question of So What? that
is posed to the reason
Evidence: Supports the reason.
Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

4/6/2013

After completing the article


Now that you have written every section of your review
article, it is time to have a trusted friend read it for you and
make comments.
? Is it interesting?
? Does it make sense?
? Does it flow? (Does one section acknowledge that there
was a section before it and that there will be one after it?)
? Is the review article in a logical right order?
? Does the review article raise and answer the question So
Wh t?
What?
? Do you feel convinced to the writers point of view?
? If you are not persuaded, do you at least understand what
the writer was attempting to persuade you to do or think?
Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

Points to remember.
1. Define the scope of the article.
2. Your labmates and collaborators are invaluable resources.
3. Dont dwell on previous review articles
4 Make
4.
M k yourself
lf comfortable.
f t bl
5. Impose some structure
6. Spend some time writing with all your PDFs and Web
browsers closed and your desk cleared of any paper.
7. Dont be shy about clearly defining your role relative to that
of your co-author(s)
8. Read the journals instructions for submissions carefully.
9. Get familiar with software
10. Your labmates and collaborators also can help you with the
editing process.

Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

4/6/2013

Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

Course:ResearchMethodology

Dr. S. Shantha Kumar


Associate Professor, SMBS
VIT University, Vellore, TN 632014

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