WHAT IS A REVIEW PAPER? The purpose of a review paper is to succinctly review recent progress in a particular topic. Overall, the paper summarizes the current state of knowledge of the topic. It creates an understanding of the topic for the reader by discussing the findings presented in recent research papers. A review paper is not a "term paper" or book report. It is not merely a report on some references you found. Instead, a review paper synthesizes the results from several primary literature papers to produce a coherent argument about a topic or focused description of a field. The emphasis of a review paper is interpreting the primary literature on the subject. You need to read several original research articles on the same topic and make your own conclusions about the meanings of those papers. HOW TO WRITE THE PAPER Overview of the Paper: Your paper should consist of four general sections: • Introduction and Background • The body of the paper • Conclusion • References Review articles contain neither a materials and methods section nor an abstract. Organizing the Paper: Use topic headings. Do not use a topic heading that reads, "Body of the paper." Instead the topic headings should refer to the actual concepts or ideas covered in that section. Example What Goes into Each Section: Section of the paper What it should containIntroduction & Background Introduction
The introduction of your review should accomplish three things: Introduce your topic It may sound redundant to "introduce" your topic in the introduction, but often times writers fail to do so. Let the reader in on background information specific to the topic, define terms that may be unfamiliar to them, explain the scope of the discussion, and your purpose for writing the review. State your topics relevance Think of your review paper as a statement in the larger conversation of your academic community. Your review is your way of entering into that conversation and it is important to briefly address why your review is relevant to the discussion. You may feel the relevance is obvious because you are so familiar with the topic, but your readers have not yet esatblished that familiarity. Reveal your thesis to the reader The thesis is the main idea that you want to get across to your reader. your thesis should be a clear statement of what you intend to prove or illustrate by your review. By revealing your thesis in the introduction the reader knows what to expect in the rest of the paper. • Make it brief (~1/5 of the paper’s total length). • Grab the readers interest while introducing the topic. • Explain the "big picture" relevance. • Provide the necessary background information.Body of the Paper Dont Summarize! A review paper is not simply a summary of literature you have reviewed. Be careful not to leave out your
own analysis of the ideas presented in the literature. Synthesize the material from all the works—what are the connections you see, or the connections you are trying to illustrate, among your readings. Analyze, synthesize, and interpret. A review paper is not a pure summary of the information you read for your review. You are required to analyze, synthesize, and interpret the information you read in some meaningful way. It is not enough to simply present the material you have found, you must go beyond that and explain its relevance and significance to the topic at hand. Establish a clear thesis from the onset of your writing and examine which pieces of your reading help you in developing and supporting the ideas in your thesis. Stay focused. Keep your discussion focused on your topic and more importantly your thesis. Dont let tangents or extraneous material get in the way of a concise, coherent discussion. A well focused paper is crucial in getting your message across to your reader. Organize your points. Keeping your points organized makes it easier for the reader to follow along and make sense of your review. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that relates back to your thesis. The headings used for this guide give you some idea of how to organize the overall paper, but as far as the discussion section goes use meaningful subheadings that relate to your content to organize your points.Conclusion Because the conclusions section often gets left for last it is often the weakest part of a student review paper. It is as crucial a part of the paper as any and should be treated as such.
A good conclusion should illustrate the key connections between your major points and your thesis as well as they key connections between your thesis and the broader discussion—what is the significance of your paper in a larger context? Make some conclusions—where have you arrived as a result of writing this paper? Be careful not to present any new information in the conclusion section.References Here you report all the works you have cited in your paper using the following format depending on your refernce material. BOOKS Author, A. A. (Year). Title of book. Location: Publisher. ARTICLES Journal Article (print): For articles with up to and including 7 authors*, include the names of all authors. Author, A. A., and Author, B.B. (Year). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), pages. Kozma, A., and Stones, M.J. (1983). Re-validation of the Memorial University of Newfoundland scale of happiness. Canadian Journal on Aging, 2(1), 27-29. Journal Article (online): Provide the doi number (Digital Object Identifier). Author, A. A. (Year). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), pages. doi: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Fuller, D. (2002). Critical friendships: Reading womens writing communities in Newfoundland. Womens Studies International Forum, 25(2), 247-260.
doi: 10.1016/S0277-5395(02)00234-0 WEBSITES *if no publication date is available, use (n.d.) for "no date". If no author is available, begin Reference list entry with the the title. Entire Website Author, A.A. (Date). Title of web site. Retrieved from http://homepage address Page/Document on a Website Author, A.A. (Date). Title of page/document. In Title of web site. Retrieved from http://URL link to specific page/documentNote: This is the criteria of how your review will be rated.
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