Writing a Review Paper

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Strategies for writing a review paper.

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  • Dear Colleagues.
    Since January 29, I publish a video blog with graphic tutorials to
    scientific publishing, called KEEP CALM and PUBLISH PAPERS. I hope,
    you may find this interesting when writing your thesis, paper or
    making a presentation.

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    Pawel Jerzy Wojcik, Ph.D.

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Writing a Review Paper

  1. 1. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010   Writing a Review Paper
  2. 2. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Research may be done alone – but it is never done in isolation. The production of new knowledge is fundamentally dependent on past knowledge. ‘I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.’ - Woodrow Wilson
  3. 3. • Research paper in peer-reviewed journals (preferably with high impact factor) • Short communication • Review articles (usually highly cited) 3   Abd  Karim  Alias@2009   Which type of publication?
  4. 4. • Conference proceedings (often not refereed, fewer citations) • Popular articles (to promote your activity) • Letter to editor 4   Abd  Karim  Alias@2009   Which type of publication?
  5. 5. 5  Abd  Karim  Alias@2013   Impact Factors for different types of article
  6. 6. What is a review paper? Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]  
  7. 7. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   A review paper is… ‘a succint review of a specific topic that provide sufficient and in-depth interpretation and synthesis of published work’
  8. 8. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Meta-Analysis …is a method of combining results of several studies into a summary conclusion, using quantitative strategies… intended to answer a focused question. ‘A research study about research studies…
  9. 9. •  It provides extensive review of previously published literature and to put them into perspective •  It offers critical evaluation of the published literature Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Why is review paper very popular?
  10. 10. •  It creates an understanding of the topic •  Identify gap in knowledge •  It provides a new approach/ perspective that would stimulate further research Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Why is review paper very popular?
  11. 11. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Generate your OWN IDEA!
  12. 12. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Review paper is more than annotated bibliographies! You are not trying to list all the material published, but to synthesize and evaluate it so as to provide a new approach or stimulate further research
  13. 13. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   ‘…a collection of all the scholarly writings on a topic.’ What is literature?
  14. 14. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Study 1 Study 2 Study 10 Study X ORIGINA L WORK ORIGIN AL WORK Your own idea will connect to the developing knowledge network in the field What is literature review?
  15. 15. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   ‘…a systematic…method for identifying, evaluating and interpreting the…work produced by researchers, scholars and practitioners.’ What is literature review?
  16. 16. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   What is literature review? Literature is about telling a story…kind of a chain story where each writer starts with a partial story created previously by others and expand on it…the existing literature is the story so far…
  17. 17. Abd  Karim  Alias@2013  [akarim@usm.my]   Before deciding to write a review paper, ask the following questions: Do I know my stuff sufficiently?
  18. 18. Abd  Karim  Alias@2013  [akarim@usm.my]   Before deciding to write a review paper, ask the following questions: Which journal to publish by review?
  19. 19. Abd  Karim  Alias@2013  [akarim@usm.my]   Before deciding to write a review paper, ask the following questions: Would it be considered at all?
  20. 20. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   •  Do a thorough literature search •  Consult the Journal Editor
  21. 21. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Write a convincing cover letter & explain…
  22. 22. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Consulting with the Journal Editor •  Rationale why you want to write about the topic; •  Explain how you would handle the subject matter; •  Explain why you are qualified to write on the proposed topic; •  Estimated length (incl. no of figures & tables); •  Estimated date of completion.
  23. 23. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Approach to doing a literature review
  24. 24. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   READ PUBLISHED WORK SYNTHESIS Study a wide range of print- and web-based materials. Creation of an “integrated whole” – Coherent argument of the topic that you are reviewing. INTERPRETATION Explain the significance & interpret the evidence presented in each piece of literature – not simply listing what others have written. How to review the literature?
  25. 25. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   The key is…be selective in what you read – or else you’ll get drown in too much information! It is impossible to read all the research ever published in your area… Approach to doing a literature review
  26. 26. 26   Filtering & sorting the essentials from the irrelevant… Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   See the wood for the trees… Image  source:  hAp://  sciencebhakta.wordpress.com  
  27. 27. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   The range of literature to explore •  Background material which is of broadly relevance to your topic •  Literature and research studies which address issues that are closely related to your topic •  Literature which is directly related to your topic
  28. 28. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Searching & reading strategy (example) Industrial application of gelatin Halal gelatin alternatives in industry Halal gelatin in food industry
  29. 29. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Searching & reading strategy Field specific papers Quantity of relevant publications Less specific, less recent More specific, more recent
  30. 30. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Components of lit. review… § Background information •  Introduce topic •  Describe scope & organization •  Review past & present literature •  Clarify purpose
  31. 31. Hmm…where do I look for resources for my literature review? Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]  
  32. 32. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Academic libraries Public libraries National libraries Museums Archives Special collections Commercial organizations Commercial databases (SCOPUS, Web of knowledge, Springerlink) Literature sources Sources & organizations providing publications
  33. 33. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Library catalogues Subject indexes Subject abstracts Bibliographies Encyclopedia Internet directories Internet search engines Tools for searching published works & data Literature sources
  34. 34. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Sources where research & information is published Textbooks Articles Theses Government publications Legal & professional publications Trade literature Conference papers Monographs Statistics Literature sources
  35. 35. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Organizing information Summarize, tabulate Use bibliographic software (Endnote) Managing the literature
  36. 36. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Analyzing information Note taking Summarizing the key findings Extracting critical facts/ arguments Examine evidence Understand interpretation Analyzing & “digesting’ the literature
  37. 37. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Reading critically & analytically Definitions Problem Theory Hypothesis Techniques Interpretations Concepts Arguments Standpoint Evidence Perspective Styles Justification Ways of thinking Events Motives Politics Conclusions Things to extract from each piece of reading material
  38. 38. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Skills for “digesting” the literature Select, differentiate, break up Integrate, combine, formulate, reorganize Understand, distinguish, explain Define, classify, describe Dissecting data into their constituent part. Rearranging the elements derived from analysis to identify relationship. Interpreting & distinguishing between different types of data , theory & argument to describe the substance of an idea Describing the principles, uses, & function of rules, method, etc. ANALYSIS SYNTHESIS COMPREHENSION KNOWLEDGE Adapted from Hart, 1998
  39. 39. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Components of lit. review… § Theory •  All research has a precedent •  Integrate key points & make appropriate inferences •  Be aware of relationship to your topic
  40. 40. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Components of lit. review… § Critical appraisal/synthesis •  Not jus a list of the work of others •  Identify issues highlighted •  Highlight differences & similarities •  Identify consensus
  41. 41. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   § A citing of all key studies in the subject area § A selection & synthesis of existing arguments to form a new perspective Any critical review should incorporate…
  42. 42. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Any critical review should incorporate… § An assessment of the strengths & weaknesses of some of the theories § A clear understanding of the topic
  43. 43. Abd  Karim  Alias@2010  [akarim@usm.my]   Length of review § Comprehensive review (up to 12,000 words) § Concise review (approx. 5,000 words)

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