Tips for writing your first scientific literature review article BY Emily Crawford Emily Crawford often retreated to her apartment rooftop in San Francisco to write her review. Photo courtesy of Matthew Perry. When I undertook the task of writing a scientific literature review article last year, I had hoped that a Google search would reveal a handful of how-to pages thoughtfully created by veterans of this particular writing process. I found nothing of the sort, so I plowed ahead on my own, inventing techniques for myself.
Search Share A good peer review requires disciplinary expertise, a keen and critical eye, and a diplomatic and constructive approach. Writing a good review requires expertise in the field, an intimate knowledge of research methods, a critical mind, the ability to give fair and constructive feedback, and sensitivity to the feelings of authors on the receiving end.
As a range of institutions and organizations around the world celebrate the essential role of peer review in upholding the quality of published research this week, Science Careers shares collected insights and advice about how to review papers from researchers across the spectrum.
The responses have been edited for clarity and brevity. What do you consider when deciding whether to accept an invitation to review a paper? I consider four factors: I see it as a tit-for-tat duty: Since I am an active researcher and I submit papers, hoping for really helpful, constructive comments, it just makes sense that I do the same for others.
The only other factor I pay attention to is the scientific integrity of the journal. I would not want to review for a journal that does not offer an unbiased review process. For every manuscript of my own that I submit to a journal, I review at least a few writing and reviewing scientific papers search, so I give back to the system plenty.
Finally, I am more inclined to review for journals with double-blind reviewing practices and journals that are run by academic societies, because those are both things that I want to support and encourage. I will turn down requests if the paper is too far removed from my own research areas, since I may not be able to provide an informed review.
Having said that, I tend to define my expertise fairly broadly for reviewing purposes. I also consider the journal. I am more willing to review for journals that I read or publish in. Before I became an editor, I used to be fairly eclectic in the journals I reviewed for, but now I tend to be more discerning, since my editing duties take up much of my reviewing time.
Some journals have structured review criteria; others just ask for general and specific comments. Knowing this in advance helps save time later.
I almost never print out papers for review; I prefer to work with the electronic version. I always read the paper sequentially, from start to finish, making comments on the PDF as I go along. I look for specific indicators of research quality, asking myself questions such as: Are the background literature and study rationale clearly articulated?
Do the hypotheses follow logically from previous work? Are the methods robust and well controlled? Are the reported analyses appropriate? I usually pay close attention to the use—and misuse—of frequentist statistics.
Is the presentation of results clear and accessible? To what extent does the Discussion place the findings in a wider context and achieve a balance between interpretation and useful speculation versus tedious waffling? First, is it well written?
That usually becomes apparent by the Methods section. Then, throughout, if what I am reading is only partly comprehensible, I do not spend a lot of energy trying to make sense of it, but in my review I will relay the ambiguities to the author. I should also have a good idea of the hypothesis and context within the first few pages, and it matters whether the hypothesis makes sense or is interesting.
Then I read the Methods section very carefully. Mostly I am concerned with credibility: Could this methodology have answered their question? Then I look at how convincing the results are and how careful the description is.
Sloppiness anywhere makes me worry. The parts of the Discussion I focus on most are context and whether the authors make claims that overreach the data. This is done all the time, to varying degrees.
I want statements of fact, not opinion or speculation, backed up by data. There are a few aspects that I make sure to address, though I cover a lot more ground as well. First, I consider how the question being addressed fits into the current status of our knowledge.
Second, I ponder how well the work that was conducted actually addresses the central question posed in the paper.The Purdue Online Writing Lab Welcome to the Purdue OWL.
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FResearch publishes articles within the life sciences and medicine without editorial bias, including papers reporting single findings, replications studies, and null results or negative findings. Referees are asked to assess the scientific validity of the article, rather than the novelty or interest levels.
All articles and referee reports are Open Access and published under a CC-BY licence. Apr 06, · How do I write a scientific review research paper? but it is a good idea to keep track of everything that you have read that matched your search criteria, and what you learned from it. Reporting results in a scientific journal is a process common to researchers in all disciplines.
However, many scientific papers fail to communicate research work effectively. Pitfalls include using complicated jargon, including unnecessary details, and writing for your highly specialized colleagues.
Search; Writing and Reviewing Scientific Papers, fall Doctoral School of Engineering and Science at Aalborg University.
The aim is to improve the participants' competence in writing and reviewing scientific papers. The course takes a practical approach and focuses on the craftsmanship needed as a scientist. It is recommended that this course is.